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Family and friends have memorial service for Diana Alvarez in Fort Myers

Family and community members gave a final farewell to a girl whose life has left a lasting impression on Southwest Florida.

A public memorial for 9-year-old Diana Alvarez was held in Fort Myers on Saturday. She disappeared in 2016, and her remains were found earlier this year.

Family and friends gathered to celebrate Diana’s life four years after she went missing.

They told us the service brought them some closure.

Many of those who gathered wore purple or white shirts that said “Justice for Diana.”

Diana’s mother, Rita Hernandez, said it’s all still hard, but she is finally able to have some peace.

“I can’t stop thinking about whether she ate or didn’t,” Hernandez originally said in Spanish. “I know God is taking care of her.”

When the service ended, family and friends released balloons in Diana’s honor.

“She’s another angel up there,” Hernandez said. “It was hard going from not knowing but now knowing that they found my daughter’s body.”

Diana would be 13 years old this year. Her family and friends celebrated her birthday earlier in May. The family plans to have another remembrance service in a couple of weeks at their church in Estero.

The search and rescue crew were able to take Diana’s mom to the place where her body was found. She said now she can visit whenever she wants.

“The person that did bad will pay, and it won’t be from me,” Hernandez said. “It will be from God. And even if I say I am, I’m doing more damage to myself. I ask that God will do justice not from my hands but from God’s hands.”

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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