RICHLAND HILLS (CBS 11 NEWS) – More than 350 mourners packed Calvary Lutheran Church in Richland Hills to remember Alanna Gallagher, the 6-year-old girl whose body was found on a residential street in Saginaw.
Displays of purple ribbons could be seen in front of the church and next to the little girl’s casket, which was draped with a quilt.
Reverend Phillip Heinze said he wanted the service to be uplifting and bubbly, just like Alanna. Heinze said the little girl loved “bouncy” hymns, so the choir in church Thursday morning sang upbeat hymns at her funeral.
In times where life dishes out more questions than answers, the faithful lean God. “The gospel is more than able to give us hope, courage, faith to endure and we will endure,” Heinze told the mourners.
Alanna’s parents each took turns speaking at the service and shared stories about their little girl. Fighting back tears Karl Gallagher said, “Alanna was a gift. A gift of happiness.” He also reflected about how Alanna took joy in big and small things, telling the mourners, “She punched a bully on a school bus and he seemed to respect her for that,” Gallagher said, as friends and family laughed. “Alanna did not make enemies, she made friends.”
The crowd of people at the church also included a contingent from Willow Creek Elementary School. Principal Dr. Lacei Koffi said Alanna, “Touched our hearts. I know we say that sometimes, [but] truly she has and in the most profound ways.”
Alanna’s body was found bound and wrapped in a tarp more than a week ago. Investigators say they have no suspects and are desperately looking for new leads. On Wednesday the FBI placed digital billboards around North Texas highlighting a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the killer’s arrest.
Karl Gallagher was a co-parent to Alanna, along with his wife Laura and Alanna’s biological father Miles McDaniel. “She met people so much easier than the rest of us,” McDaniel said of his daughter’s character.
Alanna’s mother, Laura, sang the song You Are My Sunshine, but said she changed the words to include her daughters name and to make it special for Alanna. “I think Alanna gave and received more love in her six years than most people do in a life span,” she said.
While Reverend Phillip Heinze kept with the upbeat theme, he admitted the funeral was one of the most difficult for him to perform, because Alanna was so young.
Alanna Gallagher will be laid to rest at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth.
Anyone with any information in regard to this tragic incident is urged to contact the following two tip lines: 682.888.3682 or 682.888.3684.
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