LAWRWENCEVILLE, Ga. --Hundreds gathered for a bittersweet, final farewell to 10 year old Emani Moss.
The crowd was a mix of family, church members and some total strangers.
Janna Melson remembers seeing Emani at church with her grandmother when she was just 4 or 5.
"I had to come. It's like its something very personal for me", said Melson.
Emani's body was found Saturday, November 2. Police say her father and stepmother starved her to death, then bought a trash can and tried to burn her body in it to hide the evidence.
Investigators found that trashcan just steps from the front door of their apartment in Lawrenceville.
11Alive News has since found police reports and DFCS records that show years of reported abuse involving Emani, but she was always put back in the home.
Erica Cruz brought her son Duron, 6, to the funeral. He is Emani's cousin and used to play with her.
"He wanted to say goodbye to her. I hope it will help. It has been very hard to explain to him what happened," said Cruz.
Inside the Greg Levitt Funeral Home on Scenic Highway there were large framed photos of Emani smiling and happy.
Several big floral arrangements surrounded the small urn containing her remains. At the time of her death police say she weighed just 32 lbs.
During the service Emani's preschool teacher, Lavonia Brown, recalled what a joy she was to have at school.
"She always had a smile and hugs for the other kids. I called her my little helper," said Brown.
Young Brooklyn Marsh is a cousin of Emani's who stood at the podium talked about how she considered her more of a sister. Some of her comments were heartbreaking to hear coming from someone so little.
"She wants us to be happy that she is up with god and that she doesn't have to she's feel any more pain, abuse or hurt," said Marsh.
Emani's young uncle, Doron McArthur, was supposed to sing a solo at the service, but choked up moments before.
"I have no words to sing. Weshouldn't even be here right now. Myself and a host of others, we feel like, I feel like, I could have done more. I'm sorry," said McArthur.
Grieving openly Emani's grandmother, Robin Moss, helped release several white doves after the funeral. A symbol of Emani--so small, innocent and now free.
In every newscast we promise to expose problems and search for solutions for the state agency to set up to keep children safe.Sign our petition to hold DFCS accountable and protect our children.And join us for a special 11Alive Dateline this Friday at 8 p.m., "Failed to death". Watch and see how you can join the fight to save our most vulnerable children.
MORE ON THE DEATH OF EMANI MOSS AND THE TROUBLE WITH DFCS:
*Governor Deal spends millions and adds workers tostrengthen DFCS
*2 DFCS fired after child abuse cases result in children dying
*Emani's Grandmother says no one would help her
*Prayer vigil for Emani Moss
*Exclusive Interview: DFCS Director Dr. Sharon Hill
*Judge Glenda Hatchett: 'The system is broken'
*Parents of Emani Moss appear in court
*Resources for helping children
*Accountability: When calling DFCS isn't enough
*Experts: DFCS report showed Emani Moss was in danger
*DFCS summary of the life and death of Emani Moss
*10 year old girl burned and stuffed in trash can, parents charged
*Governor Deal responds to death of10-year-old Emani Moss
*State Rep. calls for changes to child laws, DFCS following 10-year-old's death
*12-year-old boy killed after physical abuse for weeks, months or longer
*Former DFCS worker speaks out following children's deaths
*Former DFCS manager says agency pushing workers too hard
*Children's advocate: "DFCS is broken"
*Attorney says DFCS needs change from top down
*More storiesof children in trouble under DFCS monitoring