Thousands gather to say goodbye to Zina Linnik

Thousands gather to say goodbye to Zina Linnik »Play Video
TACOMA, Wash. - It was a farewell in a language that many in attendance did not understand , but thousands of friends, police officers and strangers still joined Zina Linnik's family members to lay Zina to rest.

The funeral service was held Sunday morning at the Russian-speaking Slavic Christian Church in Tacoma with an interpreter translating parts of the service. Though some of the most emotional prayers were spoken only in Russian, the grief behind them was not lost on anyone.

The 12-year-old Tacoma girl was abducted from an alley outside her home on July 4th, then found dead in Eatonville days later. Terapon Adhahn, a convicted sex offender, is being held as a person of interest in the case and is expected to be charged in her death.

Zina's father, Mikhail Linnik shared his memories of his daughter at the service. Remembering her as a devout shining star, he was unable to hold back tears.

"During the past few months, she would come into our room and just listen to us, look, watch. It was like the sign of her seeing us for the last time," he said.

Katie Thaut, Zina's favorite teacher, shared the list of 10 memories she had made with Zina's sisters.

At the top of the list was Zina's love of her family and Jesus, followed by her appreciation of the simplicity of childhood.

"Her sister said Zina's idea of a fun party would be to go swimming in the summer," she said. "She was my favorite student."

Police officers and FBI agents sat just a few feet away from Zina's casket, holding an emotional burden.

"Sometimes these stars become very heavy, and I can't think of another time that they've felt the heaviest," said Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell.

Ramsdell promised justice for Zina's family and a community in mourning.

"We may be able to find other crimes that this suspect was in and committed. We will continue to work diligently in bringing this person to justice," he said.

Many at the church were praying for that justice, hoping closure would follow. Then, just maybe, what seems unthinkable at the moment may come - forgiveness.