PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A community in Francisville came together Tuesday night to remember a 4-year-old girl who was the victim of horrific child abuse. Mothers, fathers, neighbors and strangers all gathered in Francisville on Tuesday evening just feet from where investigators say guardian Samilya Brown abused 4-year-old Zya Singleton for at least two years.
Zya died from her injuries earlier this month.
Prosecutors called it one of the worst cases of child abuse they have ever seen.
“Thank you guys for doing this. I am Zya’s mother,” Jasmine Singleton said.
At the vigil planned by the community for her daughter, Singleton was comforted by hugs. She shared memories of the young child.
Singleton gave custody to Brown when Zya was just 2 since she simply did not have the means to care for her.
“Zya was a good kid. Zya was a good baby,” Singleton said. “Her favorite thing to do was to suck on her blanket to go to sleep. She was a happy kid.”
The gathering was not only a way to memorialize Zya, but it was also a way to help neighbors heal.
“When it’s a little girl, I think there is a certain level of innocence,” neighbor Darlene Cerullo said. “So everybody feels very horribly about what happened.”
“We’re all hurting. You go through the thoughts and the emotions of, ‘Should I have done more? Should I have known more? Could I have helped?'” another neighbor said.
Zya’s mother says her funeral will be held on Wednesday in the city’s Olney section.