An estimated 2,000 mourners descended on the Shiloh Temple Saturday to say their goodbyes to Barway Collins at an emotional funeral in north Minneapolis.
It's been three weeks since the body of the 10-year-old from Crystal was found in the Mississippi River, with his funeral postponed to allow his mother, Louise Karluah, to make the trip to the Twin Cities from her home in Liberia.
KARE 11 reports that memorial services began Friday evening, with loved ones attending a visitation.
Many of the mourners at the Saturday funeral were wearing white, as requested by Karluah.
Barway's uncle, speaking on behalf of the family, said: "Like any family, you want to see a child live to his full potential. From all indications what you have heard here today, the amount of people involved in his life for the past month, two months, proves that Barway was going to be a great person.
"It took Barway just 10 years to win the hearts of all of you, and the whole of the country and the world as well."
"We are going to live with this for a very long time," he added.
Evergreen Park principal Sheryl Ray paid an emotional tribute on behalf of Barway's teachers and classmates, saying: "He had many friends, many staff new him, he was well known well liked, he had this infectious energy that everybody around him noticed."
"He was kind, he was funny, and he had that big smile that everyone will remember," she added.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek also addressed the standing-room only crowd, MPR reports, saying: "I wanted to say thank you to the moms, the friends, the mothers who searched for Barway tirelessly, relentlessly. You never gave up hope. You never gave up the quest for the truth. Thank you for all of your efforts."
"I just want to be sure to tell the American government, Liberian women, children thank you," Karluah said, according to KARE 11. "All those who stood by me in sympathy."
Barway's casket was under guard, and was opened for a family-only viewing during the proceedings.
The boy was buried at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in Crystal.
Barway's father, Pierre Collins, is currently in Hennepin County jail accused of his son's murder. He had requested the chance to see Barway before his funeral, but this was rejected by a judge.