Family and friends gathered Friday night for a vigil held in memory of Maliyah Tashay Lindsay, the 20-month-old murdered in Etowah County.
Many of the people who attended were family members, but there were also a lot of people who didn't know baby Maliyah, complete strangers who heard about her death. The tragedy touched them so much, they wanted to be here for the vigil.
Maliyah's mother, Tasmine Thomas, says she appreciates all of this support. She says she can't describe what it means to have so much support from the community.
"It means a lot," Thomas said.
She said the candlelight vigil, the prayers, singing and balloons for her daughter are helping her deal with her terrible loss, though she says nothing can completely heal the pain.
"I can't get over it, can't get over it because she's my baby, I'll never forget," Tasmine said.
Folks gathered to remember 20-month-old Maliyah right outside of Thomas' home. Candles were lit in her memory.
"It's hard, that was my niece. She didn't live, he lived his life, she didn't even live," Khadejah Thomas, Maliyah's aunt, said.
Khadejah Thomas says she's trying to stay strong for her sister, even though there's a lot she doesn't understand about what's happened to her niece. She said she's turning to her faith for answers.
"God said don't question him, everything happens for a reason," she said.
At the scene where Maliyah's body was found there's a makeshift memorial. Mandy Frohock, a friend of the family, came by to see it.
She says it was hard standing there in the spot where her body was found, a spot that police called a gruesome scene.
"My heart goes out to the family. I can't understand why, she was just a little baby," Frohock said.
Frohock paid her respects at the memorial and also said goodbye to Maliyah at her visitation Friday afternoon at the funeral home.
"She was beautiful, got a tiara on, beautiful, peaceful. It was hard to go in and see her," Frohock said.
Tomorrow family and friends will say their final goodbyes to Maliyah. Her funeral is at 2 p.m. at Mission Baptist Church.
Police discovered Maliyah's body Tuesday in a wooded area on Plainview Street. She was reported missing by her mother Monday.
Investigators say the little girl was last seen with her father on March 5.
The baby's mother told police Stephon Lindsay took the child to her sister's house. The sister told her she hasn't seen Lindsay or the child in weeks.
Stephon Lindsay is charged with capital murder. He remains in the Etowah County Jail without bond.
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