Neighbors, family members and friends clasped candles and wiped away tears as pink and purple balloons were released into the rainy sky Saturday evening.
A crowd of 60 gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of 10-year-old Miranda Crockett at a cul-de-sac outside Kings Garden Apartments where Miranda had lived.
I remember when I first held her as a baby and saw these really bright blue eyes, said John Crockett-Person, Mirandas paternal uncle. She had a light-hearted, whimsical, bright spirit. There was such an awareness to her and such a childlike wisdom.
Loved ones gathered at the vigil, including one family that drove 70 miles from Willamina to attend, focused on celebrating Mirandas vivacious and sweet personality, offering prayers, poems and stories, holding a moment of silence and singing Amazing Grace.
But many unanswered questions linger for those grieving the loss of Miranda. The Fairview Police Department and East Multnomah County Major Crimes Team continue to investigate the suspicious death of the Fairview girl whose body was discovered by authorities at 6:50 a.m. Saturday, Nov., 24, at the Kings Garden apartment in the 2700 block of Northeast 205th Avenue where Miranda lived with her father Daniel Crockett, his live-in girlfriend Chandra Ilene Rose and Roses three children.
Rose, 34, was arrested Sunday, Nov. 25, and is lodged in the Multnomah County Jail. She faces six counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of coercion in connection with Mirandas death. However, it is still unclear how Miranda died.
The Multnomah County medical examiner has conducted an autopsy but has not released the cause of death.
Rose was issued a court-appointed attorney, and her next court appearance is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Vigil organizers Tracy Meyer, who had babysat Miranda, and Stephenie Smith, a former neighbor, said the death has been particularly hard on the children who played with Miranda in the neighborhood.
Shes been scared and had a lot more fears than usual, Smith said of her daughter, Lily, 9, who was friends with Miranda. Its one thing to have a grandfather pass away, but this hits them really hard. Miranda was this funky, spirited little girl who inspired you and gave you hope. She had a lot of hard times, but she always had a smile on her face.
From boys to homework, Miranda and Meyer talked about almost everything when Meyer watched Miranda before and after she went to school at Salish Pond Elementary last school year. Miranda found little ways to surprise Meyer and brighten her day, often leaving flowers on Meyers doorstep.
Guy Peil, who traveled with his family from Willamina, was Uncle Guy to Miranda. He recalled how much she loved his 200-gallon fish tank filled with Oscar fish, how she played dress-up with his daughter and how he used to bake Miranda her favorite cookies chocolate chip.
My kids loved her like a sister, Peil said. I know shes dancing in heaven with the angels.
Daniel Crockett had sole custody of Miranda for nine years after divorcing her mother, and relatives said the two had a bond you dont see in many parents and children.
They described Daniel as a giving person who always thinks the best of everyone.
After finishing fourth grade at Salish Pond Elementary School last spring, Miranda spent the summer with her paternal grandparents in New Mexico.
Mirandas grandparents, who wished not to be named, said Miranda was excited to return to Fairview this fall and live with her father, Chandra and her children, ages 3, 6 and 11.
She was going to take care of everybody and help, Mirandas grandfather said. She was so excited she couldnt see straight.
Because of the investigation, relatives did not comment on why Miranda was switched from public school to home schooling beginning this fall or the circumstances surrounding her death.
At this time, were unsure, the grandfather said. People just need to understand that my son is so devastated he cant even process or understand exactly what happened to her.
During her time in New Mexico, Miranda loved going to the library for kids programs and wrote an imaginative story for her dad called My Dads Worst B-day Ever. Her culinary speciality was toasted, microwaved grilled cheese sandwiches.
A pop culture aficionado, Miranda loved Justin Bieber and Australian pop star Jordan Jansen. She wanted to be a rock star and dressed the part, wearing sequins, tights and hats and modeling them in her own fashion shows.
She was a little spitfire a tiny girl full of love and fire, her grandmother said. She felt everything so deeply.
For her dads birthday, Miranda made a special music video called In My Daughters Eyes. At the end, she blows a kiss and says, I love you, Dad. Daniel Crockett said its a video hell forever treasure.
Id blow her a kiss and shed blow me a kiss, and Id put it on my cheek, Crockett said. Then wed hug really tight.
At the front of the vigil was a rain tent containing a table with a teddy bear, candles and a framed photo of Miranda singing into a microphone wearing one of her signature pop star outfits. As the vigil came to an end and the crowd dispersed, Meyer and Smith passed out small pink ribbon pins with Mirandas initials on them.
She was a star in our family and wanted to be a rock star, Crockett-Person said. I think she wouldve been one, given her personality. The world was just waiting for her, and she never got to it.
A private memorial service for the friends and family of Miranda Crockett has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at City Bible Church, 9200 N.E. Fremont St. Contributions to the service may be made to indiegogo.com/mirandacrockett. Three Fairview girls, Brittney Bishop, Maria Hernandez and Rachelle Clayson, all 13, have knocked on doors in the rain and raised $133.23 for the service.
The Reynolds Education Foundation is accepting memorial donations for a peace pole in Mirandas memory at Salish Ponds Elementary School, where the girl attended second through fourth grades. Donations made be made to REF, 1204 N.E. 201st Ave., Fairview, 97024, or with a credit card in $5, $10 or $25 amounts under the Education Foundation tab of reynolds.k12.or.us/district/online-payment -system.