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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
This week, Channel 4 News has been looking back at the case known as Nashville's crime of the century - the disappearance and murder of Marcia Trimble.
The 9-year-old was molested and killed in the Green Hills area of Nashville. Her killer remained at large until Jerome Sydney Barrett was charged with the assault and murder in 2008. Barrett was convicted and sentenced to 44 years in prison in 2009.
In the first part of our series, you heard from Jeffrey Womack, who is speaking out for the first time about erroneously being the prime suspect for most of his adult life.
Now, the Trimble family has given Channel 4 unprecedented access to their photos, papers and treasures - the sort of things that become irreplaceable when a loved one is lost so suddenly.
Here, we share pages from the young girl's diary to note the hopes and happy times she had before that fateful day in February 1975.
Reopening the diary
It's brittle and brown, and the tiny lock and key are still there on the front.
There was never a need to lock this diary, 9-year-old girls don't really have many secrets, but Marcia will always be different.
She will always be 9 years old.
Her mother, Virginia Trimble, reads the entries, which begin in June, most likely 1974, the summer before her death.
"Today I went to C.K.,"Marcia wrote in one entry.
"Castner Knott's," Virginia Trimble said, recalling the now-closed Nashville department store. "Oh, we loved Castner Knott's. We loved Castner Knott's and didn't always have the money. We'd go look through the windows."
"See how excited and joyful I get just with her memory," Virginia Trimble said.
Things that weren't originally meant for her mother's eyes, now fill Marcia's mother's heart to overflowing.
That includes a scrap of paper, which is a reminder of one of the last things Marcia ever wrote.
The day she disappeared, she was the library person at school.
"She was excited on that Tuesday morning. She was excited about the librarian. She would go to all of the classes and get the library books and go in and clock them in and do what she's supposed to do," Virginia Trimble said.
Virginia Trimble said her daughter was always precise and prissy and very concerned about her clothes.
"She had laid everything out, had her little blue jeans and her little top, you know, laid out - and she had padded black leather boots and long white cotton socks under those boots. And that was her little uniform. I mean, she really thought she was tough-looking in those blue jeans and in that top," Virginia Trimble said.
Mourning loss and innocence
We never know what will become meaningful before it becomes meaningful. And unless you have lost someone to tragedy, the reactions that come are hard to understand.
For Virginia Trimble, one of those reactions came on the day she heard the sounds of demolition near her home.
"And I thought, 'Oh, no. No, no, no. Don't tear down that garage,'" she said.
The neighbor's garage was the site of Marcia's molestation and murder. Only this mother can understand why it hurt so much for it, too, to disappear.
"I wanted it up, because it represented Marcia and the last day. The last breath she took, she took in there. And, I mean, that was like, how did I know what they could find?" Virginia Trimble said. "I mean, I know this is not a big thing, and I have not ever talked - never admitted this in my whole missing of Marcia, and the years that I've not had her - but it broke my heart when that garage was torn down, because what was eliminated by the boards that fell?"
In the decades since her murder, Marcia has become symbolic of a community's heart and giving spirit. Hundreds searched for her, and thousands wept when the awful ending came to pass.
Even little children called the Trimble home with their condolences.
"If she lived - if she had lived - you know, there was no telling what she would be, because she was so outgoing and she was a brilliant child," Virginia Trimble said.
Voice of an angel
The Christmas before she died, Marcia got a tape recorder. It was a gift she adored and one that recorded her voice during a playtime wedding she would never live to see.
"Marcia was so beautiful, just long blonde hair, blue eyes, and just a spray of freckles, and had a little chicken pox scar," Virginia Trimble said.
"Now I know that the scripture is true. That, after mourning - after you mourn - joy comes. I have that in Marcia's voice," Virginia Trimble said. "I wanted Nashville to just know - I wanted them to have the freedom of knowing Marcia, because they loved her. And they still do."
Full-hour documentary on Channel 4
Channel 4 knows how important this story is, and has been, to the community, so we are dedicating a full hour to the investigation of the Marcia Trimble case Saturday at 7 p.m.
The documentary is called Indelible: The case against Jeffrey Womack.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Jeffrey Womack and his longtime attorney John J. Hollins Sr. have written The Suspect: A Memoir, published to coincide with the documentary Indelible. The authors will sign copies at 2 p.m. Sunday, November
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