More than 150 friends, family and community members came to pay their respects at Crouch Funeral Home in North East Monday to Kami Ring, the 10-year-old Cecil County girl who was found murdered last week in a field near a Port Deposit home.
A 29-year-old Cecil County man, Richard E. Madden Jr., has been charged in the murder.
At the request of Kami's mother, members of the media were asked not to enter the funeral home to cover Monday's service that began at noon.
Outside the funeral home prior to the service, Paulina Watts, who was a student in the same fifth-grade class as Kami at Charlestown Elementary School, remembered her as a best friend and a climber.
"She was funny," Paulina said. "She climbed everything she could find, and sat right behind me in class."
Paulina's cousin, Brent Smith, of Elkton, said he knew Kami from birthday parties that his cousin had with her.
"She told jokes and sang a lot," he said.
Patty Miller, of Elkton, said what happened to Kami should be a wake-up call to parents.
"We're supposed to be the ones protecting our children and elderly," Miller, who has a law enforcement background, said. "[Parents] should know the people [their kids] are running around with and know the people at the house."
Miller said she hopes Kami's killer won't get a light punishment.
Also in attendance at the funeral were staffers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cecil County, where Kami was a member and who organized a candlelight vigil in her memory last week in Charlestown, at a park near where the girl lived. More than 300 people attended the vigil.
Boys and Girls Club staff members said they were asked by the family not speak to media.
Kami was the daughter and stepdaughter, respectively, of Sasha and Ricky Dean, and the sister of Joe and Lizzy Boileau, of Charlestown. She also was the stepsister of Hope, Brook and Roilee Ring; the maternal granddaughter of Deborah Pearson; and the daughter of Jeremiah Guetherie; all of Coos Bay, Oregon.
Madden, who police say was an acquaintance of Kami and who lived in the Waibel Road home near where her body was found, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, first-degree rape and first-degree assault, is being held without bond at the Cecil County Detention Center.
According to a statement of charges, an autopsy determined Kami died from a combination of asphyxia, cutting wounds and blunt force trauma and her body bore signs of a sexual assault.
Physical evidence was collected around where the body was found and inside the Waibel Road home, according to the statement of charges. In addition, according to forensic reports detailed in the statement of charges, "...there was distinct biological physical evidence present left on the body of the victim. All the evidence collected is a direct match to the subject Richard Eugene Madden."
Police have said Kami was staying in the Waibel Road home with Walter and Cynthia Clark and Madden. She had considered the Clark couple her surrogate grandparents, even though there was no biological relationship between the couple and the girl, or between the Kami and Madden.