Community memorial held for Emilie Parker

Posted at 8:55 PM, Dec 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-21 00:15:37-05

OGDEN, Utah -- The family of 6-year-old Emilie Parker is back in Utah, preparing to bury her this weekend.

Her parents, Robbie and Alissa Parker, were greeted by thousands of pink ribbons tied to fences, trees and signs all over town.

"They drove in and were flooded with pink ribbons and love and support from the community. It was overwhelming," said Jill Cottle Garrett, Emilie's aunt. "It was very emotional for them and they not only felt your love throughout these past few days, they felt a warm embrace as they came into Utah."

Cottle Garrett spoke to reporters outside Ben Lomond High School on Wednesday, surrounded by relatives who have flown in from all over the country for Emilie's funeral this weekend. The little girl was one of 20 children killed in last week's shooting in Newtown, Conn. Her family, from Ogden, had moved to Connecticut about a year ago.

The family will host a community memorial service at Ben Lomond High on Thursday at 7 p.m. They have asked that Friday's viewing and Saturday's funeral be private -- so Emilie's family can grieve in peace.

Emilie's aunt says they have tried to keep the family insulated from the overwhelming amount of information and news coverage of the shooting. They are particularly mindful of Emilie's sisters.

"They are aware that Emilie has passed away. they are aware that she was killed in a shooting, chiefly because when Alissa went to the school the girls were there with her," Cottle Garrett said.

Meanwhile, the community outpouring of support for Emilie's family continues. On Wednesday night, nearby Ogden High School held fundraisers for the victim's of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting at their boy's basketball game.

"People want to help and we're just trying to give a way for them to do that," said Ogden High School teacher Michelle Braeden.