TOWAMENCIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — The parents of a 5-year-old girl who was swept up in rushing waters after wandering from home during Tropical Storm Isaias are speaking about the loss of their daughter. CBS3 caught up with Eliza Talal’s grieving mom and dad, who shared stories about their little girl.
This was the first time Eliza’s mom and dad visited the park since her body was found. They were extremely anxious to enter but say they are grateful for all the support they’ve been receiving.
“She was a happy kid and I’m sure she’s still happy,” mom Yusra Hussain said.
For the first time since Eliza’s death, her parents have found the courage to speak publicly.
“She was a pure soul. She loved music and she was like a butterfly. She’d go to everyone and give them a hug and make them smile,” Yusra Hussain said.
The 5-year-old wandered from home during Isaias last Tuesday. Her body was found in a creek two miles from her Spring Valley Road home the next day.
Her siblings, who are also autistic and nonverbal, have been struggling. Her twin brother Mohammad Ali, was her protector.
“It’s been nine days since she passed, but this is the first time where he came out of nowhere and just said it out loud,’Eliza where are you?'” dad Talal Hussain said.
Her parents say Eliza was fierce and always eager to try new things.
“Even though she was nonverbal, the joy in her face and overall demeanor was just phenomenal even though she couldn’t communicate, and she couldn’t express herself she always had a smile on her face,” Talal Hussain said.
“And she was full of life. She loved to hear songs,” Yusra Hussain said.
Dozens lit candles for little Eliza. Her family says she was a happy girl, and they believe she’s still smiling. pic.twitter.com/waeX5wc9Tf
— Kimberly Davis CBS3 (@KimberlyDavisTV) August 15, 2020
A GoFundMe page started by a stranger-turned-friend has already raised more than $40,000, intended to financially prepare them for the road ahead.
The suburban community came together Friday night to support Eliza’s grieving family. They lit candles, sang songs and hugged loved ones as they honored the girl.
Eliza lived a short life but left behind a mark that can’t be erased. She also managed to raise autism awareness without saying a single word.
“Ask yourself this question: Was she really nonverbal? Or did her actions just speaker louder than any of her words put together?” aunt Nida Haque said.
“She was a sweetheart and daredevil. She was not afraid of trying anything new,” Talal Hussain said.
We’re told Eliza was a happy girl who loved “Frozen” and joyful songs.
“She was full of life, full of happiness and full of light. Her laugh was contagious and I can still hear her giggles when water would spray on her face,” Haque said.
The family may have lost their little girl, but they say they gained a family.
The family also says this tragedy could happen to anyone and that’s one of the biggest concerns a family with an autistic child has.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.