By DNAinfo Staff
BROOKLYN — In a church on Fountain Avenue in East New York Wednesday evening, a standing-room-only crowd of tearful, heartbroken friends and relatives gathered to mourn the loss of 4-year-old Halii McCord, who was found beaten to death in her apartment last week.
Halii was laid to rest in a small white coffin surrounded by stuffed animals that had been placed around the base of the casket in lieu of flowers. Her favorite song, "You Are My Sunshine," played at various points during the service at the Church of God & Saints Christ, and several mourners wore T-shirts imprinted with the song's cheerful title.
The funeral, referred to in a program passed out to guests as a "home going service," lasted more than an hour, with various family members each sharing a few words about the little girl they loved.
“I just want to say the family is going to miss you," said one man who identified himself as Halii's brother. "You will be in our hearts forever, and I hope you feel love in the place you’re in.”
Halii was found dead inside her East New York apartment on Tuesday, Nov. 6, her body badly bruised. The Medical Examiner has since ruled that her death was caused by blunt impact to her torso.
Police grilled the girl’s mother, Alicia McLaughlin, and her unidentified 23-year-old boyfriend on Monday, sources told DNAinfo.com New York. McLaughlin told police that her boyfriend struck Halii the night before she was found dead because she refused to do homework with him, according to sources.
But as of Wednesday night, police said no one had been charged in the girl's death.
McLaughlin attended the ceremony but did not speak. Instead, others shared their thoughts and wishes for the girl, who some relatives described as a "princess."
"I just want to tell Halii, 'I love you, and I hope I see you soon,'” said one woman who identified herself as McCord's aunt.
Another woman, who did not give her name but said she was a friend of the girl's grandfather, pointed to the overflowing crowd as evidence of how much Halii was loved.
“It’s horrible what happened," the woman said outside the church Wednesday night. "I hope her mom can find the strength to move on and remember her baby because she’ll always be her baby.”
Halii's grandfather, who also did not give his name during the service, addressed his remarks to relatives of Halii's father, who did not attend the funeral service.
“I want to thank you for bringing your son into this world so I could have Halii,” he said. "I want you to tell him thanks for bringing Halii into this world."