For the first time since they found 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore dead, her mother is speaking out. Ten days ago, police found the girl's body near the Savannah waterfront. She was missing nearly a month. Today, a memorial was held for her at her school, DeRenne Middle, with her family attending. Michelle Moore wanted to thank the community, and especially Ashleigh's classmates, during this very difficult time.
"Let today be the last day you mourn for my baby," she said. "From this point on, it's a celebration."
Moore urged Ashleigh's classmates to remember her daughter for the girl she was.
"I want all of you to remember Ashleigh," she said. "Remember the corny jokes she would constantly tell and be the only one laughing."
But for these students, who are still coming to terms with their classmate's untimely death, laughter is a long way off. Today, they planted a Bradford Pear tree and flowers in her memory. Several, like Ja-Kail Brooks, read poems to remember her.
"I'm doing okay now," Ja-Kail said. "But before I was just crying and everything. It's just so bad that she's gone. I miss her."
Michelle Moore says this has been a long road, not only for her family, but the entire city who searched and hoped they'd find Ashleigh alive.
"I just want to tell everyone who helped me throughout this time, thank you for all their support and all their help, and like I told the kids, no more crying," she said. "From this point on there's no more crying. No more crying. Only celebration in the name of Ashleigh."
A funeral for Ashleigh Moore will be held tomorrow morning at 11am at the Second African Baptist Church at 123 Houston Street in Savannah. The public is welcome to attend.
Police are continuing to investigate her death as a homicide.