It was an emotional graduation day at one Virginia high school, when the school honored a student who could not be there.
Alexis Murphy, 17, has been missing since last summer, when she is believed to have been abducted and killed.
On Saturday, Murphy’s family attended the graduation at Nelson County High School, even though Murphy was not there. In a special ceremony, school officials honored the teen by giving her diploma to her family.
Murphy’s family sat in the front row, some wearing t-shirts with Murphy’s face on them.
“Alexis, she should have been here to receive her diploma and be able to celebrate her graduation and going off to college,” Murphy’s aunt, Angela Taylor told ABC News affiliate WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia.
To honor the teen, some students wore Murphy’s name on their caps and pink ribbons dotted the football field where graduation took place.
Murphy’s mother, Laura Murphy, called the ceremony “bittersweet” on Facebook after graduation.
“I’m at the point where I don’t know how to feel. Alexis, you should have been present for graduation,” Laura Murphy wrote. “I wish I could express how I feel but the fact is that words cannot express how much I miss and love you. I love you beyond words. I can’t cry enough tears to express my love for you.”
Though Murphy has not been found, Randolph Taylor was found guilty of the teen’s murder earlier this month.