Community Reaches Out to Bella's Family

August 29, 2012 Updated Aug 29, 2012 at 6:37 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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August 29, 2012 Updated Aug 29, 2012 at 6:37 PM EDT


Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW) - The horrific death of little Isabella Tennant has left an entire community stunned.

Tonight, family and friends of Bella are still trying to come to grips with the loss.

Loved ones are already working on fundraiser to help Bella's family. In just a little more than 24 hours, more than a thousand people have reached out to help.

In the days after five-year-old Bella's murder, Western New York has been coming together to support her family.

Angelina Volker, a friend of Bella's father, says she wants "to get the family the idea that they're not alone, there are people there for them and there's a bunch of people that care."

Volker says Tuesday morning, she posted an idea about a benefit for Bella on Facebook.

The final details are not even worked out and already more than a thousand people say they want to attend.

The event will include raffles, gift baskets and live music.

Volker still needs help getting together catering services and putting together prizes. Anyone who wants to volunteer should call her at 716-983-4197.

Proceeds will go to the Isabella Tennant Memorial Fund at First Niagara Bank.

She says plans are so new, a firm date and time have not yet been set.

Over at Olive Garden, where Bella's mother Crystal Walker worked, colleagues are showing an outpouring of support.

People that work at restaurants across Western New York are reaching out to make donations.

The last few days have been filled with community outreach, including two vigils that have drawn more than a thousand people to remember the little girl and support her parents.

Yvonne Keough, a friend of Bella's mother, told Eyewitness News "Bella basically belonged to all of us. There isn't a person here that she didn't brighten a day."

Meanwhile, questions still linger about Bella's murder.

She'd been staying at her great-grandmother's house in Niagara Falls, when police say 16-year-old John Freeman killed her with his bare hands. Police say 18-year-old Tyler Best helped get rid of her body. Bella's was found in a trash can Monday morning.

The coroner's report lists the cause of death as "mechanical asphyxiation."

The Niagara County Coroner won't go into any further detail about exactly what that means. However, the coroner sates there are no signs of sexual assault, and several standard tests have been sent out.

Niagara Falls Police still have not released a motive.

Meanwhile, the community continues to band together and help Bella's family in their time of need.

Bella's funeral service will be Saturday, September 1st at nine in the morning at Saint Louis Church in downtown Buffalo.

The funeral service will be followed by a procession and burial.

The family's also asking in lieu of flowers, you can donate to the Isabella Tennant Memorial Fund at First Niagara Bank. Money will go to help pay for the funeral and legal expenses.