Mourners Pay Tribute To Dead TV Anchor

By  | 

(CBS/ AP) Mourners left flowers, stuffed animals and other mementos outside the home where a TV anchorwoman was found brutally beaten, as tributes poured into the Web site of the Little Rock station where her colleagues mourned her death.

Anne Pressly, a 26-year-old anchor for KATV, died Saturday night in a hospital. Her mother found her beaten Monday after the journalist didn't answer her regular wake-up call. Authorities have said they have no suspects.

Pressly worked as a reporter for WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tenn., in 2004 and had attended Rhodes College in Memphis.

In front of Pressly's house, still wrapped with yellow crime scene tape, mourners passed by throughout the day Sunday, some leaving bouquets of flowers or other tokens to express their unity with Pressly's grieving family, friends and co-workers.

Hundreds of comments flooded the station's Web site from across the United States, including messages from loyal viewers accustomed to seeing Pressly on TV to those who said they'd never heard of her before the attack.

"Although I didn't know her or ever see her on the news I was very touched when I read the first article about her brutal beating. I do hope the person who did this is caught and punished to the full extent," a Connecticut woman wrote.

Frequent viewers of the ABC affiliate's "Daybreak" program recounted how Pressly had affected their lives.

"We never met Anne in person, but she was indeed part of our family as we invited her into our lives and into our living room everyday," wrote a couple from Quitman, Ark. "She stole our hearts with her beautiful smile and bubbly personality."

A makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and teddy bears lay near a tree outside the anchorwoman's home Sunday.

KATV has established a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pressly's killer. The station Sunday said the fund had reached $30,000 and that Pressly's family asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the reward fund. The station said Pressly's family plans to establish a scholarship fund in the slain woman's name.

Police have said they had no indication Pressly was targeted for the attack. Little Rock police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis didn't return phone messages Sunday from The Associated Press.

Melissa Dunbar-Gates, Pressly's best friend who was at her bedside when the anchor died, told CBS' The Early Show Pressly gave no indication that she was ever in danger.

"Anne would never complain about anything," Dunbar-Gates said. "She never did."

A statement issued by Pressly's parents, Guy and Patti Cannady, asked for privacy but also for support.

"Our lives will not be the same without her. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we struggle to move forward without our dear sweet daughter," the statement said.

KATV on Sunday continued with tributes to Pressly, showing examples of her reporting and offering recollections of working with her. As weekend anchorwoman Pamela Smith did Saturday night, she read messages from friends and strangers that were posted to KATV's Web site.

The site continued to teem with messages well into Sunday night. One, from a man in Hope, said, "My heart goes out to each of you. It is my prayer God's love and grace will comfort you during this time. The only thing you and I have in common (is) I have a daughter that is 26, too. Just goes to show us that Arkansas is a small state, what effects one of us, effects us all."

Pressly was born in South Carolina and moved with her family to Little Rock while she was in high school.

She had a small role as a conservative commentator in the new Oliver Stone movie "W.," which was filmed in Shreveport, La.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.