Family, friends, community gather in Spencer for Shaylyn Ammerman’s funeral

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SPENCER, Ind. (March 30, 2016) - Family, friends and the community of Spencer gathered to say farewell to 15-month-old Shaylyn Ammerman.

A visitation and funeral services were held Wednesday at the Christian Life Center, one week since the baby was first reported missing and later found dead.

The visitation started at 3 p.m, with the funeral following at 7 p.m.

Many people came wearing purple in memory of Shaylyn and even brought flowers. Purple ribbons hung from cars.

"It's just devastating and heartbreaking that someone could do that, let alone a little baby," said Deana Scott.

Some who paid their respects didn't know the little girl or her family.

"I didn't know them, but I feel like I know them," said Melissa Blondell, "I have two grand babies the same age as her, and I just couldn't imagine."

The family opened the doors for law enforcement at 2:30, many of whom have been deeply disturbed by the troubling details of the case.

"A case like this, it's imperative for these officers to have some closure as well. Even though we may have only come into contact with Shaylyn and her family for the span of a few days, it's still important for us to be able to say that we care for you, and we are here for you," said Sgt. Curt Durnil with Indiana State Police.

Shaylyn's aunt Patty Adams is trying to remember the good things about her niece, and the support for her family, but the tragedy of young Shaylyn’s death makes it impossible for many of those that knew her.

“She was always happy always laughing, smiling. She loved her tinker bell. Anything shimmering, glittery she loved it, she was happy,” she said. “It’s nice that everyone is showing their support, but it’s hard. Do I want to be here? No. Nobody wants to be here.”

On Monday, the Owen County Prosecutor’s Office filed a slew of charges including murder, rape and child molestation against 22-year-old Kyle Parker.

Parker pleaded not guilty, but court documents revealed that Parker had admitted to his step-father that he raped Shaylyn, smothered her, acted alone and tried to conceal evidence.

Detectives are still investigating the case. Durnil said evidence continues to be collected, and witnesses are being interviewed.

“We want to make sure that it’s only one person. If there’s others responsible for anything to do with her death, we want to make sure that gets out there,” said Durnil.

Prosecutors have not made a decision on whether or not they will seek the death penalty in this case.

According to Indiana law, in order to seek the death penalty the prosecution must allege the existence of at least one of 17 “aggravating circumstances.”

Parker has been charged with at least six counts that qualify as aggravating circumstances.

After the service Wednesday evening, people lined the streets in Spencer as the hearse carrying Shaylyn's body drove off into a stormy night, escorted by law enforcement. Her burial service was private.

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