Aaliyah Rosa was just seven years old when she was killed. (Dignity Memorial)

‘I can’t believe she’s gone’: Loved ones pay tribute to girl, 7, killed in Langley

Aaliyah Rose was found dead in an apartment in late July

Hundreds of loved ones gathered at a Langley church on Tuesday to remember a seven-year-old girl who was a “once-in-a-lifetime friend” found dead in an apartment late last month.

Friends, family and caregivers packed the auditorium at the Christian Life Assembly, fighting back tears, to tell the story of Aaliyah Rosa’s too-short life.

The girl’s death has been declared a homicide after her body was found in the building near 200 Street and 68 Avenue in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood the night of July 22. A 36-year-old woman, who was taken into medical care at the time, is believed to have been involved, but police have not provided details.

Pastor Bill Ashbee asked for a moment of silence as he read a prayer for Aaliyah.

“In the middle of a puzzlingly evil act, God loves children,” Ashbee said.

He addressed the girl’s father, Steve Rosa, who was sitting in the front row with other family members.

“Steve, we’ve talked, and I understand some of the questions you have, all of the emotions… all of the whys. We’re here on this journey with you,” Ashbee said. “This is a safe place for you today, Steve. A safe place for all.”

Trish Wright, one of Aaliyah’s after-school teachers, spoke about a vivacious girl who brightened every room she walked into.

“She wore her heart on sleeve and let you know exactly how she felt,” said Wright. “Aaliyah would be the first one fighting with the boys over which Hot Wheels were hers… she stood her ground for what she believed were her truths.”

READ MORE: Online fundraiser started for dad of 7-year-old girl killed in Langley

With a constant sparkle of mischief in her eyes, Aaliyah was always the star of the show.

“Aaliyah loved to play ‘freeze dance’ with her favourite pop star Taylor Swift blaring from the stereo. The girls would all sing from the top of their lungs: ‘We are never, ever, ever getting back together!’” Wright said. “I’m shocked we didn’t wear that CD out.”

And no matter what, Aaliyah was forever “daddy’s little girl,” Wright said.

When Steve dropped off his daughter every day, Aaliyah would ask him to stay.

“‘Daddy, please just one more hug,’ she would beg. And Steve would always give it.”

Nadia Causley, the mom of Aaliyah’s best friend, Stella, talked about a girl with a contagious smile who made the Causley family her own.

“Aaliyah is a once-in-a-lifetime friend. She and Stella will always be besties,” said Causley.

The two girls met in pre-school, but Aaliyah quickly became much more than that.

“She became a part of our family… our rambunctious fourth child,” Causley said. “When she would come over, it would be full-on arguing and fighting with all of our kids with the familiarity and love of siblings.”

She paused, gathering her emotions.

“I can’t believe she’s gone,” she said. “Aaliyah was awesome. For those of you who didn’t know her… you missed out. The world missed out.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ice Demons returning to CIHL for 2018-2019 season

Central Interior Hockey League will return with five teams after shrinking last season

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Australian firefighters join Telegraph Creek efforts

Regional district extends State of Emergency another week to Aug. 17

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

District extends State of Emergency another week

There’s lots of work ahead, but today was a good day: BC Wildfire Service

Updated: ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

Woman in custody after topless crane climb near Toronto waterfront

Toronto police have apprehend a woman who climbed crane cab near waterfront

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

Ontario has seen more than 1,000 forest fires so far this year, compared to 561 in all of 2017.

‘Billion-piece jigsaw puzzle:’ Canadians key to 1st complete map of wheat genome

The paper has 202 authors from 73 research agencies in 20 countries.

70 years after Babe Ruth’s death, fans still flock to grave

After Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53, tens of thousands of fans came to pay respects

Airbnb’s federal budget proposal tells Liberals, ‘we want to be regulated’

Submission says ‘we want to be regulated’ and asks the government to avoid forcing existing rules

Greens won’t run candidate in Burnaby South as ‘leader’s courtesy’ to Singh: May

Green Leader Elizabeth May says the decision is an extension of a ‘leader’s courtesy’

Missing B.C. hiker, dog found safe after 3-day search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Most Read