WINCHESTER Family, friends and church members recall the life of a slain girl at her funeral service.
Leaves tumbled through the warm autumn air Saturday morning onto a circle of about 150 people gathered around the grave of Camille Arfmann.
"Brief as her life was, she fulfilled divine purposes," said the Rev. Jim Masqua, associate pastor of the McLouth Church of the Nazarene, during a burial service in Winchester.
Arfmann, 14, was found dead early on Nov. 8 in a ditch, hidden underneath trash and dirt. She had been missing from her residence outside Oskaloosa since Nov. 5.
An Oskaloosa man, Thomas E. Bledsoe, is being held on first-degree murder charges in the Jefferson County jail in connection with Arfmann's death. Bledsoe is the brother of Arfmann's brother-in-law.
Earlier Saturday, Arfmann's friends and family gathered in the Countryside Baptist Church in rural McLouth for the girl's funeral service.
The honor-roll student's body lay in a black casket with silver handles. A teddy bear and pocket-size school portraits of classmates had been laid in the coffin next to Arfmann's body. In her hands she clasped a black leather-bound Bible.
During the service, Masqua, who was the officiating minister at the funeral because Countryside is without a pastor, spoke to the children in the church youth groups in which Arfmann was active.
"You see this isn't a funeral, this is graduation day," Masqua said. "We pass from death unto life. Hallelujah."
"Hallelujah" replied several in the congregation.
Jim Bolinger, a Sunday school teacher at Countryside, spoke about Arfmann's Christian virtue.
"She set the example Jesus would want us to follow," Bolinger said.
He praised Arfmann for her "obedient" nature and her willingness to work at the church.
"When we had a dinner, Camille always served the drinks," Bolinger said. "She never had to be asked, she just served the drinks."