Friends and family gather to remember Bradenton girl

- Dozens of people came together to remember 11-year-old Janiya Thomas, the girl whose body police believe they've found in a freezer at a relative's home.

On Sunday, the home served as a stage for a lively celebration of Thomas' life. The service included prayers from several area pastors, singing, a balloon release and a candlelight vigil.

Several family members spoke at the vigil.

"The family really appreciates everyone that came out. It touched our heart and Janiya was a wonderful, wonderful child and we're going to miss her," said cousin Cecelia Washington.

Attendees placed stuffed animals and signs with personal messages in the driveway of the home of Thomas' great-grandmother and great-aunt.

They were the ones who discovered the body presumed to be the girl's in a locked freezer in their garage. Police say Janiya's mother, Keishanna Thomas, dropped the freezer off more than a week ago and claimed it had meat in it. They didn't think anything of it until they saw news reports that Janiya was missing and Keishanna Thomas had been arrested for refusing to say anything about the girl's whereabouts.

Keishanna Thomas is facing several charges related to Janiya's disappearance, but she has not yet been charged in her death. The Medical Examiner is still trying to positively identify the body. Kieshanna Thomas is expected back in court Monday.

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