Cape May resort holds walk in memory of murdered Gloucester City toddler
Staff and campers at Big Timber Lake Camping Resort in Cape May are walking in memory of Ariana Smyth, the little girl who was raped and murdered just days before her 2nd birthday.
Ariana's father Robert, great uncle Paul Pearson, and other members of the family work at the resort.
"It's very horrific," Maria Randle, manager of Big Timber Lake, said Saturday morning. "The baby was here all the time. I played with her."
The Camden County Prosecutor charged Ariana's mother Amber Bobo, of Gloucester City, and her boyfriend Michael Disporto, of Manahawkin, Thursday. Disporto was charged with first-degree murder and sexual assault. Bobo was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly waiting hours before seeking medical attention for her daughter after discovering bruising on her head and genitals.
Randle said Ariana's death has been hard on staff.
"We've all just been walking around with tears," she said.
Jennifer Smyth, Ariana's grandmother whom she called "MomMom," was too upset to talk about her granddaughter Saturday, but said she is thankful for the support from Big Timber Lake and everyone donating through the GoFundMe page.
"All donations are so greatly appreciated," she said.
Big Timber Lake employees are wearing pink shirts in memory of the little girl today. By 10 a.m. more than 50 people had gathered for the walk in her memory and more were coming down the street as the memorial was about to get underway, Randle said.
The resort is also holding a raffle during its Monte Carlo event tonight to help the family.
"We're raffling off a chainsaw carving and just trying to help out where we can for the funeral costs," Randle said.
But Randle said for anyone not staying at the resort, the best way to help the family is by making a donation through the GoFundMe page.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office is continuing its investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor's Office at 856-225-8439 or the Gloucester City Police Department at 856-456-0408.