ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Community members gathered in Albuquerque Thursday night to remember 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike, of Fruitland, New Mexico.
Thursday night’s vigil for the little girl who investigators say was kidnapped and killed, was a message of love and support during this time of tragedy.
A native song was performed in front of dozens of mourners gathered at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
The message Thursday night was that, “life is sacred.”
Ashlynne was with her little brother Monday when detectives said they were offered a ride after school from a man later identified as 27-year-old Tom Begaye.
Begaye is now charged with her kidnapping and murder after her battered body was found Tuesday.
Detectives said he admitted to sexually assaulting the 11-year-old, striking her in the head, and leaving her for dead in the desert, miles from the Shiprock Monument.
“I think it’s sad, I think that it’s not OK for that to happen, and for us to be safe, the little kids,” 10-year-old Irene Avila told KRQE News 13.
Avila is just a year younger than Ashlynne, and attended the vigil with her baby-sitter, Martha Gallegos.
“This is like an awakening for everybody, I would say,” Gallegos told News 13.
Parents held their children extra close during the vigil.
Kids crafted hand-made cards to deliver to Ashlynne’s family, offering love and support, especially her 9-year-old brother, who survived.
“The resilience of our people, that is a strength,” a speaker told the crowd.
Children made signs that with glitter and colorful artwork, saying things like, “Rest In Peace Ashlynne,” and “You are loved very much.”
Lots of people gathered Thursday wore yellow, since it was Ashlynne’s favorite color.
Ashlynne’s immediate family wasn’t there Thursday, since her funeral is being held Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the Civic Center in Farmington.