Thousands mourn at funeral of Navajo girl

Posted at 11:30 AM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 14:32:40-04

The Latest on developments related to the abduction and killing of an 11-year-old girl in New Mexico (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Mourners at the funeral of an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was abducted and killed this week wept as a video played showing support for her from across the country.

Images of people releasing balloons, holding vigils and singing in remembrance of Ashlynne Mike flashed on the screen in New Mexico's Farmington Civic Center. Ashlynne was also shown playing the xylophone.

A headstone created for Ashlynne read "our little angel in heaven."

Some 1,600 people attended the service with speeches delivered in Navajo and English and as many people waited outside watching it on monitors.

Ashlynne's parents and siblings sat on stage alongside local, state and tribal leaders.

A funeral escort to the burial site included dozens of motorcycle riders.

11:30 a.m.

The family of a Navajo girl who was abducted this week on the reservation criticized the delay in issuing an Amber Alert for her.

Older siblings of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike told a crowd gathered for her funeral Friday that they wish the alert had gone out sooner. The audience erupted into applause.

Authorities were notified around 7 p.m. Monday that Ashlynne and a younger brother were missing. Authorities say the two had been lured into a van by a man offering to take them to a movie.

The brother was freed and showed up at the Shiprock police station around 7:15 p.m. and provided a description of the kidnapper.

An Amber Alert was issued at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Ashlynne's body was found later that day south of the monolith known as Shiprock.

11:15 a.m.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez joined thousands of people Friday in mourning a Navajo girl who was abducted and killed this week.

During a funeral Friday, Martinez recalled Ashlynne Mike as a budding pianist and xylophone player who wanted to share her musical talents with the world. The 11-year-old girl was a fifth-grader at Ojo Amarillo Elementary School.

Authorities say she was killed after she and her brother were lured into a van near their school bus stop Monday. Her brother was freed, but Ashlynne's body was found near the Navajo Nation community of Shiprock the next day.

Martinez turned to Ashlynne's brother and thanked him for his braveness in providing authorities a description of the kidnapper and said Ashlynne would be proud.

Tom Begaye Jr. has been charged with murder and kidnapping in Ashlynne's death.

10 a.m.

Hundreds of people lined up ahead of a planned funeral for an 11-year-old girl who was abducted and killed on the Navajo Nation this week.

More than 1,600 people were expected to pack the civic center in Farmington, New Mexico, on Friday morning to pay homage to Ashlynne Mike, who was abducted after school Monday. Her body was found a day later south of Shiprock. Those waiting outside included families with children, many wearing t-shirts that were yellow, the fifth-grader's favorite color.

Many of those waiting exchanged greetings, hugs and waves.

More than 200 miles away, suspect Tom Begaye Jr. appeared before a federal judge on murder and kidnapping charges in Albuquerque. He waived his right to a preliminary and detention hearing. A judge ordered that he remain in custody.

2:25 a.m.

Hundreds of mourners will gather Friday to remember an 11-year-old girl who was killed after being abducted along her school bus route on the Navajo Nation.

The funeral for Ashlynne Mike, a fifth-grader who lived with her father and siblings near the eastern edge of the nation's largest American Indian reservation, is set for Friday at 10 a.m. in Farmington, New Mexico. At community gatherings in recent days, her family has remembered her as a quiet girl who loved music and played the xylophone.

Her death has led her tribal community to demand improvements in how law enforcement responds to child abductions on the vast reservation.

More than 200 miles away, suspect Tom Begaye will appear before a federal judge on murder and kidnapping charges during a preliminary hearing in Albuquerque