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Burial today for 10-year-old girl who died after fight

March 4, 2012 |  7:56 am

Joanna Ramos

Joanna Ramos will be buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday afternoon after a graveside service.

Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday night to remember 10-year-old Joanna, who died last month after a fight with another girl at Willard Elementary School in Long Beach. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Joanna's mother fought back tears during the service, saying she would always remember her daughter as a "good and happy little girl who dreamed of being a singer and a star."

"What happened to Joanna could happen to anybody," Cecilia Villanueva, 41, said before the service. "Parents need to be careful and try to watch over their children, even when they are at school with friends."

Relatives, friends and strangers assembled at the cemetery's chapel for a funeral service to honor the fifth-grader, who died after a fight with a classmate near their elementary school in Long Beach.

The service began at 6 p.m. with a video chronicling Joanna's life and a recording of Whitney Houston's song "I Will Always Love You," one of Joanna's favorites.

Under the glare of news cameras, mourners shuffled past the girl's open casket. Joanna wore a white dress that she wore last fall to a relative's quinceañera, white socks and Hello Kitty earrings.

One woman cried inconsolably. Others whispered personal prayers and farewells. Joanna's older sister Diana, 19, placed a Minnie Mouse doll in the casket, which was flanked by bouquets and a studio portrait of Joanna illuminated by candles.


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-- Louis Sahagun

Photo: A memorial at Willard Elementary School pays tribute to Joanna Ramos. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times