WINTHROP HARBOR, Ill. – Krystal Tobias (search) loved to pick dandelions with friends and was excited to learn how to fish — until she screamed at the sight of the worms, mourners recalled Saturday at the funeral for the second-grader killed with her best friend last week.
The Rev. Michael Brown (search) urged the more than 300 family, friends and neighbors gathered at a small Baptist church to focus on helping one another cope with the girls' deaths rather than venting their anger.
"We're not here to condemn. We're not here to judge. We're not here to criticize," he said. "We're here to help."
Tobias, 9, and Laura Hobbs (search), 8, were found stabbed to death early Monday in a park near their homes in Zion. Authorities on Tuesday charged Hobbs' father, 34-year-old Jerry Hobbs, with first-degree murder in the slayings, saying he confessed to beating and stabbing the children on Mother's Day.
Prosecutors said Hobbs told them he became angry because his daughter refused to obey his order to leave the park and return home. He attacked Tobias when she came to the defense of her friend, prosecutors said.
During the service at First Baptist Church, several people read poems and told stories about the young girl. Her small white casket was draped with pink roses.
Her 15-year-old brother, Alberto Segura, said she was buried with teddy bears and a stuffed bulldog, the mascot of her elementary school.
"She slept with those things every night," Segura said after the service.
He said his family is slowly coming to terms with his sister's brutal death. "I'm cooling off now. All I know is my sister is in heaven. She's in a better place," he said.
A judge on Wednesday denied bond for Hobbs, who has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1990 in Texas, including prior arrests for assault and resisting arrest.
Hobbs was released from a Texas prison in April after serving time for an assault in 2001. He had been living with Laura's mother, Sheila Hollabaugh, at her parents' home in Zion, a town of about 22,000 along Lake Michigan north of Chicago.
A service for Laura Hobbs is scheduled for Sunday in Zion.