MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 1,000 mourners came to pay their respects to Barway Collins Saturday, filling Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis with memories of the 10-year-old murder victim.

Barway vanished from Crystal one day after school last month, only to later be found dead in a river.

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Many of the people who attended the funeral never even knew Barway but said they were impacted by his death, many of them mothers.

But the people from the Liberian community who lead the service said it was not just a day for grieving, but a day for celebrating Barway’s life.

There were few dry eyes as a letter — written by a classmate of Barway Collins — was read.

“I miss you, everybody does,” the letter read. “I am so sorry you died. If I could, I would bring you back.”

It was standing room only at the funeral with a crowd of people all dressed in white. The color was a request of Barway’s mother to show innocence and purity.

The principal of Barway’s school, Sheryl Rae, spoke at the ceremony, too.

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“He was well known, he was well liked and he had an infectious energy that everyone around him noticed,” she said.

Among those who attended the funeral were the law enforcement agencies who helped in the search for Barway’s body.

“A smile, a happy 10-year-old, full of life, an opportunity and hope,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. “That’s his lasting legacy, and one I will never forget.”

Barway’s mother arrived from Liberia earlier this week to attend the service. The funeral had been postponed until Saturday so that she could travel to the U.S. Earlier this week, she thanked everyone in Minnesota who spent so many weeks searching for her son.

Her brother spoke on her behalf at the service.

“Let’s just face the fact: Barway was trusted to a person that is supposed to give him maximum protection,” the brother said.

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Admist the sadness and anger, the room was filled with hope that Barway would never be forgotten.

Kate Raddatz