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

Cold weather centre to open in Grand Forks

The centre will be open around the clock through to the spring.

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Grand Forks fire crews respond to ‘abandoned’ house fire

No one was in the home at the time of the fire.

From the Hill: The millstone of a cannabis conviction

Richard Cannings writes about records expungement for cannabis convictions

Tips for avoiding Canada Revenue Agency scams

Grand Forks RCMP are asking residents to be vigilant.

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read