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Town mourns girl believed killed over meth Monday, February 7, 2005 Posted: 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
CROTHERSVILLE, Indiana (AP) -- Hundreds of mourners paid their final respects Sunday to a 10-year-old girl who police believe was abducted and slain so she would not reveal methamphetamine activity in her neighborhood.
More than 600 people attended funeral services for Katlyn "Katie" Collman at Crothersville Community School, where she was a fourth-grader.
The Rev. Jon Pearce told the crowd Collman's death should serve as "a wake-up call," urging residents to form neighborhood watches and confront suspicious activity.
"If Katie hadn't been walking by a meth lab, she would be alive today," he said. "We can't forget her. We need to remember that she was a sweet little girl."
Collman's body was found January 30 in a creek after she had been abducted, authorities said, to intimidate her from revealing that methamphetamine was being made in an apartment near her home.
Her family planned to raise money to build a playground in her memory on the site of the methamphetamine operation linked to her death.
"It's going to be up to us now to see to it that Katie's death was not in vain, and we have enough people here that are wanting to see this happen," said Terry Gray, a spokesman for the girl's family and chief of the community's volunteer fire department.
Charles James Hickman, 20, was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in Collman's slaying.
Prosecutors allege Hickman tied the girl's hands behind her back. Hickman first told investigators the girl tried to run away and fell into the creek, but also said he might have "bumped" her into the water.
Timothy C. O'Sullivan II, 22, and a 17-year-old boy were charged Friday with false informing, but their connections to the crimes were unclear.
The girl's death was the first homicide in 25 years in the town of about 1,600 people some 40 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.
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