As police investigate to see if Daniel St. Hubert is connected to her death, friends and family gathered Wednesday evening to say goodbye to Tanaya Copeland at her wake and funeral. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
The girl that once brought a smile to their face now brought tears to their eyes.
One by one, Tanaya Copeland's fellow band members stepped out of Bethlehem Baptist Church in East New York, weeping, dancing and performing.
"One of the songs that we played today was 'Missing You,' because a lot of kids do miss her," said Osei Smith, the band director of the Royal Knights Marching Band.
Police say the 18-year-old college student was murdered on May 30 on Stanley Avenue in East New York. It was around 10:30 p.m. when she was found unconscious with multiple stab wounds.
"I'm here, but it's like I'm elsewhere looking at all of this happen because I don't want to accept the fact that she's actually gone," said Delano Angello, the victim's uncle.
"Up until this day, before I went in there, I said it wasn't her. Then, I seen her laying there," said Janielle Kemp, a friend of the victim. "It was heartbreaking."
"I don't think anyone wants to admit, you know, what's actually happening," Smith said. "She had an untimely death at a young age, and with no explanation."
Police have not revealed a motive or official suspect, but said they are looking at Daniel St. Hubert. The 27-year-old was indicted Wednesday for allegedly stabbing two children, killing one, in an elevator just blocks away from where Copeland was killed.
"Until now, we're not sure about who my daughter's murderer is, but like I said to you guys before, my daughter was special, she was loved, and you can see by the turnout that she was a very special child," said Rochelle Copeland, the victim's mother.
Copeland's mom comforted her grieving friends, many who said they looked up to her.
"She was a real close friend to me, and I'm feeling, like, real depressed," said Derrick Williams, a friend of the victim. "She's no trouble. She likes school. It's like she wanted to be somebody in life."
In addition to feelings of sadness and anger, Copeland's loved ones said they also feel gratitude for all who came out to pay their respects and to celebrate Copeland's life.