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Community mourns at candlelight vigil for slain Mississauga girl

Last Updated Feb 17, 2019 at 12:58 pm EDT

Community members took time to grieve in Mississauga at a vigil to honour an 11-year-old girl killed on her birthday on Valentine’s Day.

Riya Rujkamar’s body was found in her father’s Brampton home early Friday morning, less than an hour after an Amber Alert had been issued when she failed to return from a birthday celebration with her father.

Roopesh Rajkumar is facing a first-degree murder charge. He remains in hospital where he is being treated for an undisclosed medical condition.

Hundreds of people braved the cold temperatures to show their support Saturday night, bringing flowers and candles to a makeshift memorial at Meadowvale Village Green, which is located across the street from the school Riya attended.

“I think it’s very important for everyone to stand together in times like this,” said vigil organizer Amrita Naipaul, who was a classmate of Riya’s mother in 2016.

“This is a story that hits home for everyone, whether you’re a parent or a child. To have that support and know your entire community is standing together with you is very important.”

“I don’t know Riya personally,” said one woman who, like many others, felt the need to come and show her support. “I have no words to describe how sad this made me feel. I’m just here to show my love and show my support. I can’t imagine what her mother is going through right now and everyone who cared about her.”

Another vigil is scheduled to be held in Brampton in the Garden Square on Tuesday organized by City Councillor Rowena Santos. It will begin at 5:45 p.m.