More than 1,000 people celebrate life of Elizabeth Collins - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More than 1,000 people celebrate life of Elizabeth Collins

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More than 1,000 people celebrated the life of 8-year old Elizabeth Collins of Evansdale. More than 1,000 people celebrated the life of 8-year old Elizabeth Collins of Evansdale.
A slide show of hundreds of photos showcased highlights of Elizabeth's life. A slide show of hundreds of photos showcased highlights of Elizabeth's life.
Heather Collins spoke about her family's faith during her daughter's memorial service. Heather Collins spoke about her family's faith during her daughter's memorial service.
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Thursday marked five months to the day since 8-year old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year old Lyric Cook of Evansdale were last seen alive.

The girls were abducted on July 13.

Hunters found their bodies in Bremer County last week.

Thursday night, more than 1,000 people gathered at Heartland Vineyard Church in Cedar Falls to celebrate Elizabeth's life.

"In her eight short years, Elizabeth had a wonderful, wonderful life," Elizabeth's mother Heather Collins said during Thursday's service.

The Collins' said from the beginning they wanted the service to be a celebration of their daughter's life and different from a typical funeral. A slide show of hundreds of photos showcased highlights of Elizabeth's life.

"She love to party and dance and sing," Heather said.

In a brief meeting with the media before Thursday's service, the Collins' smiled when they talked about Elizabeth listening to Christian music so loudly at night that they had to tell her to turn it down.

Folks enjoyed refreshments and fellowship prior to the 7 p.m. worship service at Heartland Vineyard Church. The parking lot was full by 6 p.m., according to a police officer helping control traffic.

The service opened with prayer and words from the pastor who had spoken to some of Elizabeth's classmates and teachers at Poyner Elementary.

"She talked so highly of her parents," the pastor said. "It was very clear that they were special people in her life. She had a great love for her mom and dad and her family."

Family members remember Elizabeth as a bubbly girl with an unforgettable smile. And they continue to find comfort in their unwavering faith.

"Who better than for her to be with than our Father in Heaven?" she asked the crowd.

Heather thanked the community for prayers, love and kindness extended to her family. She received a standing ovation and a worship band led the group in some of Elizabeth's favorite songs including, "Oh Happy Day."

After the service, family members said the event was better than they could have ever planned, and that her daughter would have been so happy that all of the celebration was for her.

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