Friends, family remember Emma Redlinger on her birthday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Friends, family remember Emma Redlinger on her birthday

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VINTON (KWWL) -

Friends and family of Emma Redlinger, the Vinton girl who police say was accidentally shot and killed by a friend, gathered in Celebration Park to remember her.

Amy Redlinger, her mother, is a vision of strength as she speaks of her daughter.

"That's what I want people to remember, the impact she had on people before and after death," she said.

Emma died in February.

The details on her death are still not entirely clear, but her birthday party wasn't about that.

Amy says Emma was the glue of her group, the one who brought everyone together.

"Now since her death, a lot of those friendships are still standing and they'll talk about how they met through Emma," said Redlinger.

If she were here today, her mother says she'd be running off with friends.

But instead they gather in her honor at Celebration Park -- a name so fitting for a girl so full of life.

"She always was happy, and she was never really sad. If anyone else was sad, she would be. Like if I cried, she cried," said her cousin Kaylee Graves.

Graves says Emma was her shadow, which admittedly was something she never could appreciate as much as she does now.

"She'd just tell me, there's no getting rid of me, I'm your shadow you can't get rid of me, and I'd get so annoyed but now I just miss having her behind me," said Graves.

Amy says she wants the day to be a lesson for those who love Emma most.

"I want the young people in this community to know that death is a part of life and you can move on," said Redlinger.

Aimee found a bucket list on Emma's computer after she died.

On it was a wish to let Chinese lanterns off into the sky.

On Tuesday, at Emma's birthday party, that's exactly what the group did.

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