Neighbors, family members and friends clasped candles and wiped away tears as pink and purple balloons were released into the rainy sky Saturday STAFF PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Daniel Crockett, center left, father of Miranda Crockett, speaks at a candlelight vigil Saturday night next to his brother John Crockett-Person, middle, and neighbor Tracy Meyer, right, who babysat Miranda and helped organize the vigil. The grieving father fell to his knees sobbing as the crowd sang 'Amazing Grace.' He called his daughter's death 'horrible, awful and sad.'

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, Miranda’s 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 Miranda’s vivacious and sweet personality, offering prayers, poems and stories, holding a moment of silence and singing “Amazing Grace.” by: STAFF PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of 10-year-old Miranda Crockett Saturday evening at a cul-de-sac outside Kings Garden Apartments where Miranda had lived.

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 Rose’s 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 Miranda’s 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.

“She’s been scared and had a lot more fears than usual,” Smith said of her daughter, Lily, 9, who was friends with Miranda. “It’s 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 Meyer’s 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 she’s 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 don’t see in many parents and children.

They described Daniel as a giving person who always thinks the best of STAFF PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Daniel Crockett, father of Miranda Crockett, talks to friends and neighbors who attended the candlelight vigil on Saturday night.

After finishing fourth grade at Salish Pond Elementary School last spring, Miranda spent the summer with her paternal grandparents in New Mexico.

Miranda’s 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,” Miranda’s grandfather said. “She was so excited she couldn’t 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, we’re unsure,” the grandfather said. “People just need to understand that my son is so devastated he can’t 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 Dad’s 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 dad’s birthday, Miranda made a special music video called “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” At the end, she blows a kiss and says, “I love you, Dad.” Daniel Crockett said it’s a video he’ll forever treasure.

“I’d blow her a kiss and she’d blow me a kiss, and I’d put it on my cheek,” Crockett said. “Then we’d hug really tight.”

by: STAFF PHOTO: JIM CLARK - A shrine for Miranda Crockett showcases her love for dressing up and her aspirations of becoming a rock star.

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 Miranda’s initials on them.

“She was a star in our family and wanted to be a rock star,” Crockett-Person said. “I think she would’ve been one, given her personality. The world was just waiting for her, and she never got to it.”

Memorial information

• 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 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 Miranda’s 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 -system.

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