"From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you": Family of Ashley Johnson-Barr expresses gratitude for community support

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The family of Ashley Johnson-Barr released a statement Sunday thanking everyone for the outpouring of support as they mourn the loss of the 10-year-old, who was missing for days before her body was recovered Friday evening.

In a phone call to Channel 2, Agnes Brown, the aunt of Johnson-Barr's mother, read a statement thanking the public and explaining that the family "would not be able to live through this without your prayers and support."

The full family statement reads as follows:

"The outpouring of support from the state, from the country, and from the entire the world is hard to explain but we are so thankful for the walks, the candlelight vigils and the fundraisers.

Thank you for keeping our family, our town in your prayers, we feel them. We would not be able to live through this without your prayers and support. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

It so hard to know that we will never see our baby girl again on earth but we know she is in heaven and her soul is at peace. It will always be hard for us but we felt the love from everyone, and we can use this strength to carry on. For eight days we hope and pray for a better outcome but when she was found a small sense of peace came over us. This is not what we wanted, we wanted our baby girl to graduate high school to have a family, but she won't be able to do that.

On behalf of the family, I would like to say thank you, thank you for all your support, thank you for all your comfort, your love that you've shown to our family."

Johnson-Barr's body was found late Friday evening after an exhaustive eight-day search of Kotzebue and surrounding areas.

The investigation is ongoing.