BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) Nearly one thousand people poured into St. Louis Church on Edward Street in Buffalo Saturday morning to remember 5-year-old Isabella Tennant.
Isabella, called "Bella" by her family, was found dead in Niagara Falls Monday morning, several hours after she was reported missing by her mother and great-grandmother. Her body had been wrapped in a garbage bag and thrown in a trash can in an alley off 3rd Street.
Bella's father, Michael Tennant, released the following statement to reporters outside the funeral:
"The loss of my beloved daughter, Isabella, has shaken me to the core and left me overwhelmed by the wave of emotions I experience every minute of every day since learning of her death. She is my angel and words cannot express the agony that screams inside my heart.
While our family continues to grieve the loss of our precious child, we ask the media and community to respect our privacy and that of our daughter.
This is a most difficult time -- we are left with more questions than answers. We have lost the joy, the smiles and innocence of one who had so much to give. We now ask that everyone direct their thoughts and prayers to Isabella as well as to those who are managing the judicial process, that they may find courage and strength in their pursuit of truth.
We appreciate the outpouring oflove and support from the community and take refuge in knowing that while gone, Isabella will not be forgotten. May God bless everyone for their kind thoughts and actions, I'm sure Isabella is waving to each of you from Heaven."
Two teenagers face charges relating to Isabella's death. 16-year-old John Robert Freeman, a close family friend, is charged with second degree murder. His friend, 18-year-old Tyler Best is charged with tampering with evidence. Best is accused of helping Freeman dispose of Tennant's body.
Both pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning. They are due in court again on September 7.