RUSKIN, Fla. – More than 100 mourners gathered Saturday to remember a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly choked to death by a registered sex offender in her home earlier this month.
Among the people who filled the First Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ (search) for Sarah Lunde's funeral were dozens of law enforcement officials and the father of another slain Florida girl, who police believe was also killed by a sex offender.
"Sarah is certainly in a much better place now," said her uncle, Larry May. "She was loved by so many, and she'll be missed by so many more."
Outside the church, a white stone fountain was erected in her memory, surrounded by stuffed animals and flowers. Sarah was buried later Saturday in Ruskin Memorial Park (search).
Sarah's older brother was the last to see her alive when she returned home from a church trip on April 9. Early this next morning, police said David Onstott came looking for Sarah's mother, got into an argument with the girl and killed her.
Sarah's partially clothed body was found a week later in a fish pond near her Ruskin home. Onstott, 36, is charged with first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.
Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year-old daughter Jessica was kidnapped in February and found dead March 19, attended the funeral wearing a white T-shirt with Sarah's picture on it. A convicted sex offender, John Evander Couey (search), is charged in Jessica's death.
"I'm another shoulder for them to lean on," said Lunsford, who helped search for Sarah. "I know what they are going through and what they feel. I wish I didn't, but I do."