ANCHORAGE - More than 500 mourners packed Anchorage Grace Church on Sunday to remember Delaney Zutz, 13, who was found murdered last week in woods near her South Anchorage home.
The slain teen-ager was laid to rest later Sunday in Angelus Memorial Park on Klatt Road.
Anchorage Grace Church pastor Jon Hunn led the tearful service.
"We're facing a 9-11 type of tragedy right here in our hometown of Anchorage," Hunn said. "Evil exists, but I would pray that we would rise above our fears and above evil. We know that there will be justice."
As the homicide investigation continued into the girl's death, mourners remembered the top Hanshew Middle School student for her friendly smile. They said her violent death left them stunned and heartbroken.
"When I found out about Delaney, I began to question God," said teacher Billy Veasy, who taught Delaney as a fourth- and sixth-grader. "I said, 'Why Delaney? Why this one?' "
After pallbearers led the coffin away, mourners gathered in the church parking lot in the sunshine.
Patty Marcum and her daughter Abbie, 12, knew Delaney since kindergarten. Marcum said the murder is a wake-up call to parents.
"There is a lot of fear that this could happen to our children," Marcum said.
After the funeral, mourners gathered on a grassy hill at Angelus Memorial Park. Many tossed single roses and rose petals into the ground where Delaney's casket will lie.
Delaney's plot is just a few feet from that of Bonnie Craig, an Anchorage university student murdered in 1994 at age 18. Craig's murder remains unsolved.
The Zutz family felt it was appropriate that the girls be together, Hunn said.