Students, family hold memorial for slain middle school girl
A Kathleen teen allegedly murdered by her sister was remembered Monday.
Friends, family and classmates of India Collins gathered at Mossy Creek Middle School Monday morning. Heavy hearts filled the gymnasium as classmates, teachers, friends and family came together to remember seventh grader India Collins.
India's parents John and Angela held back tears as they shared some of their fondest memories of their daughter.
India had fun living life and we know we made her have the best life ever. We miss her smile and everything else about our beautiful, sweet baby girl," said Angela Collins.
"It shows kids that it is ok to mention her name at school. It is ok to grieve and to be sad that she's gone and to talk to your friends about it," said Principal Andy Gentry.
Monday was about keeping India's memory alive through personal stories, but more permanently, adding her name to a stone memorial and planting a weeping willow on the school lawn in her honor.
"The weeping willow symbolizes emotion and tears. It just gives us a good memory every time we look at that tree," said Gentry.
India's father, John, offered up words of wisdom for the students before singing a song for his daughter.
"Don't take the little small things for granted because, India, wouldn't want that anyways because she was so big at heart," said John.
"India's favorite sign was the peace sign. So, we say to her our loved one, sleep on in peace baby girl, we won't stop until justice is served. We love you out Nay Nay," said Angela.
Last Friday, bond for India's sister Carmen was denied in a Houston County courtroom. The 17-year-old is charged with felony murder and arson in connection with India's death.
Carmen's attorney said after the hearing the family remains hopeful that new leads in the case will exonerate their daughter.