Loved ones and community members still reeling from the loss of 15-month-old Shaylyn Ammerman came together to say goodbye to the toddler who was found brutally raped and murdered after vanishing from her father’s Indiana home last week.
Hundreds gathered at the Christian Life Center in Spencer on Wednesday to honor little girl, including dozens of law enforcement officers who paid their respects at a private viewing, according to reports.
“It helped with some of our closure,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnil told PEOPLE. “It has been a tough one.”
Purple ribbons were given to mourners as they arrived at the Center, many of whom had already worn purple or pink in memory of Shaylyn.
“Don’t cry for me, I will be okay. Heaven is my home now and this is where I’ll stay,” read the service program for Shaylyn, who reportedly lay in an open casket covered in a blanket and surrounded by flowers and stuffed animals.
“Don’t cry for me, this is not the end. I’ll be waiting for you when we meet again.”
Tearful friends, family and residents solemnly stood in the rain and watched as the baby was placed into a hearse to take her to her final resting place at a private burial, the IndyStar reported.
In what a doctor called the worst case of sexual trauma she had seen in her career, Shaylyn was found brutally raped and smothered to death March 24.
Her body had been doused with bleach and left about nine miles from her father Justin Ammerman’s home on a rural patch of land where the White River and Indian Creek meet.
Cops say she had last been seen just before midnight two days earlier asleep in her crib at her father’s home, where his brother and brother’s friend, Kyle Parker, had been drinking before she disappeared.
Parker, 22, was hit with a slew charges including murder, rape, kidnapping and strangulation in Shaylyn’s killing. He pleaded not guilty.
He was put on suicide watch Wednesday and isolated in a padded cell in a sleeping bag for suicidal inmates, IndyStar reported. Parker is on constant video surveillance and checked on by staff every 15 minutes.
“He is pure evil,” Shaylyn’s grandmother, Tamara Morgan, told PEOPLE.
She noted that Shaylyn’s uncle, Adam Ammerman, blames himself for his niece’s killing, saying: “This is really tearing him up big time, because, of course, he is blaming himself for inviting Kyle over.”
Adam Ammerman told investigators he fell asleep and woke between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Wednesday to the sound of the front door shutting.
When he looked out the window to see who was leaving, he said he saw Parker carrying something as he walked away from the house.
“Adam advised he yelled at Kyle to say goodbye but Kyle would not turn around,” the affidavit said.
“Adam informed the detectives that he thought he saw a foot dangling from Kyle’s side but was not certain so he went back to bed.”
Since her murder, Shaylyn's father has received an onslaught of online comments from people suggesting he played a part in her death.
“I'm curious as to why you'd let this person around your kids let alone watch them with the record they have for children,” one person wrote on Justin Ammerman’s Facebook page.
“Your daughter is dead and you could care less. Heartless b******. I'd be falling apart. Not posting on facebook,” another one of the many comments read.
Ammerman responded to the criticism, writing on March 29: “To all the haters out there F*** Y** leave me and my family alone this is the last time I'm asking just stop with the b******* ok.”
He has not been charged in connection with her death.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and could take weeks or months to complete.