Community Helps Family Bury 3-Year-Old Murder Victim

(Memphis) A child tragedy has brought the community together.

A mother has to bury her 3-year-old daughter because police say the mother’s boyfriend beat little Ciriyah West to death.

And while prosecutors work to make sure Tony McKinney is locked up for good, perfect strangers are making sure the child gets the funeral she deserves.

People have given money to the family, someone has donated a burial plot at Memorial Park, a florist has offered to provide the flowers and a funeral home is offering to pay what the family can’t afford.

“I want to put her away real nice. She didn’t deserve this,” said Bettie Woodall, Ciriyah’s grandmother.

Because Ciriyah was a victim of crime and under the age of 18, her mother is eligible for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, but the family says it has set up a fund at the Ford Funeral Home to get her buried as soon as possible.

They’ve already collected $1,1100. The funeral will cost between $5,000 and $6,000

They family says they will do whatever they have to do to raise the money.

“We’ll have car washes if we have to,” said Woodall.

But Joe Ford says even if they don’t collect any more money, he plans to bury the toddler Saturday and write off the cost.

“They are helping us as much as they can,” said Woodall.

Family and friends are grateful for the donations from the public.

They say Ciriyah was a queen and should be buried like one, and they want everyone to know just how special she was.

“This is going to be a celebration for her,” said Woodall.

The family is planning a balloon launch for Ciriyah Friday at 7 p.m. at Overton Park.

The funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at New Mount Sinai Baptist Church on Horn Lake Road.