Large crowd gathers to say goodbye to 11-year-old Navajo Nation girl

A tribute to Ashlynne Mike in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo by Dezzo Stanley

Ashlynne Mike, an 11-year-old member of the Navajo Nation whose death has sent shock waves throughout the reservation, is being laid to rest on Friday.

More than 3,000 people flocked to the Farmington Civic Center in Farmington, New Mexico, to say goodbye to Ashlynne and to offer support for her family, The Farmington Daily-Times reported. She was abducted on Monday and her body was found near the Shiprock Pinnacle on Tuesday.

Tom Begaye, 27, is accused of kidnapping and murdering Ashlynne. He's being held in Albuquerque after being arrested on the reservation on Tuesday.

Begaye participated in a sweat lodge prior to his arrest, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release. He was a follower of the Native American Church, The Daily-Times reported.

Rufus Dickie, a leader of the church, told the paper that Begaye showed no signs of being involved in the incident when he attended the previously-scheduled sweat on Tuesday. He said they both prayed for Ashlynne.

"I trusted him with my family," Dickie told the paper. "I trusted him with my daughter. And he betrayed me."

Get the Story:
Community comes together at funeral (The Farmington Daily-Times 5/6)
Church leader says murder suspect betrayed him (The Farmington Daily-Times 5/6)
Ashlynne Mike remembered at prayer service (The Farmington Daily-Times 5/6)
Hundreds line up outside site of girl’s funeral (AP 5/6)
Community questions delay in Amber Alert for Navajo girl (AP 5/6)
Federal judge orders accused child killer to remain behind bars (The Albuquerque Journal 5/6)

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