In memory of Katelyn Markham, woman who passed away in 2011.

When Katelyn Markham’s loved ones see butterflies, they think of her.

Butterflies decorated Creekside Park in Fairfield on Saturday, just a day after Markham got engaged John Carter pleaded guilty to causing her death in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Markham supporters gathered at the park to receive butterfly pins to wear at Carter’s sentencing in July and in remembrance of a daughter, sister and friend.

“She was bright, vibrant, coming out of her shell, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly,” her father Dave Markham said.

He described how Markham always made new friends on vacation and never wanted anyone to be in a bad mood.

“It’s hard to imagine that anyone hurt him,” he later added, “because no one loved him.”

What happened to Katelyn Markham?

Markham was 21 when Carter reported her missing on August 14, 2011.

Friends, relatives, local authorities and a national mounted search party from Texas conducted dozens of searches looking for Markham. They scoured local parks, waterways and areas of Butler and Hamilton counties, but found no sign of her.

Katelyn Markham of Fairfield disappeared in 2011.

Markham’s remains were found nearly two years later, on April 7, 2013, in a rural, wooded area of ​​Big Cedar Creek in southeastern Indiana’s Cedar Grove.

Carter was arrested and charged with her murder nearly a decade later. Weeks before his trial began, Carter admitted his guilt in Markham’s death. In exchange for his manslaughter plea, the two murder charges he previously faced were dropped.

“So wacky”: who was Katelyn Markham?

To those close to him, Markham is much more than the victim of a convoluted affair. On Saturday, fans spoke repeatedly about the brightness Markham brought to others.

“You would be in a crowded room,” Michelle Feist said, “and she would always make eye contact and show that she was listening.”

Katelyn Markham and her father, Dave Markham.

Feist, now 34, said Markham was her best friend. They met when they were 13 in eighth grade and attended Fairfield High School together. They shared prom, sleepovers, homecomings and bus rides home to Markham.

Feist and her mother, Charma Rader, remember Markham as someone who made people laugh.

“So goofy,” Feist said.

Rader pointed out a photo of Markham making silly faces. Nearby is a photo of the young woman and her father making fish faces. Rader said: “That’s how I think of Katelyn.”

Dave Markham, 63, Katelyn Markham’s father.

Markham is also remembered as a talented artist. When she disappeared, she was about to finish her studies in graphic arts at the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati.

A call to action

Carter faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Judge Daniel Haughey will announce Carter’s sentencing in Butler County Court on July 18. Those close to Markham have a goal before then.

“I understand that when you think about 36 months, it doesn’t look like anything,” said Tina Barrett, of Dave Markham…

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