Funeral held in Gadsden for slain 20-month-old baby

Family members pay their final respects to little Maliyah Lindsay at her funeral on Saturday. (

GADSDEN - AL - A family and a community bid their final farewells Saturday to 20-month-old baby in Gadsden.

Maliyah Lindsay's body was discovered Tuesday. Her father, Stephon Lindsay, has been charged with her murder.

Family and friends struggled through their grief while, at the same time, searched for answers during the service at Mission Baptist Church.

Maliyah's mother, Tasmine Thomas, was too grief-stricken to speak. She weeped amid the balloons and the stuffed animals, child-like gifts her daughter will never enjoy.

Police say Maliyah's father, Stephon Lindsay, took them to a wooded area, where her body was found. Some relatives tell ABC 33/40 Lindsay bought swords on the Internet and killed her as a spiritual sacrifice. However, Gadsden Police have not released a possible motive in her death.

May Guilford, a family friend, says she can't believe what has happened to the family's "angel."

"All you want to do is reach, grab her and hold her," Guilford says. "She is gorgeous. She never lived."

Maliyah leaves behind a one-month old sister, Yahriel Lindsay. The family thanks the community for its outpouring of support.

Thomas wrote the following in her child's obituary:

"To my baby I really love, now I know you're truly above. Although losing you wasn't fair, you'll be with me everywhere. Surrounded by angels here and there, your love we will always share. So don't be scared when you're up there 'cause God is there to always care. Love, your mother."

Family members have told ABC 33/40 they believe Lindsay practiced a certain religion, and bought a sword, which was used in the child's death. One aunt alleges the act was part of a religious sacrifice. Police, however, have not yet released a possible motive in the child's death.