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OVER 1,500 ATTEND SERVICE FOR SLAIN IDAHO GIRL

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More than 1,500 people on Saturday attended a memorial service for Jeralee Underwood, the 11-year-old newspaper carrier who was kidnapped while collecting for subscriptions and then murdered.

"This past 11 days the name Jeralee has been a byword, a rallying word, a name that stirred emotions within all of us," Kert Howard, the president of the LDS Church's Pocatello Stake, told the crowd during the 90-minute service."Today we come to reverence her name and express our love and respect for her one more time," Howard said.

Hundreds more watched the service on closed-circuit television at the church's stake center on the city's south side.

The child was kidnapped June 29, and according to police, killed within hours of her abduction. But her body was not discovered until this past Wednesday when it was recovered from the Snake River in Idaho Falls, 50 miles to the north.

Police arrested James Edward Wood, 45, the night before the body was found. Wood, who is being held without bond, has already been charged with kidnapping, and Bannock County Prosecutor Mark Hiedeman said a first-degree murder charge will be filed this week.

Authorities were expected to disclose the results of the autopsy on the girl on Monday.

Pathologists completed their work on Friday, so that the child could be buried on Saturday.

Her casket was at the front of the chapel hall for the memorial service, just in front of the pulpit and surrounded by flowers. A private funeral followed Saturday afternoon and candlelight vigils were held in Pocatello and Boise Saturday evening.

"Jeralee's life on this Earth was a blessing to all of us," said family friend and fellow church member Charles Jensen. "Her sweet smiles and loving disposition brought joy each time we were around her. I will miss her hugs at church each Sunday."

Howard said families throughout Idaho have been brought much closer together since the murder of the fifth-grader.

"More daughters and sons were hugged this week, more bedtime stories were told, more prayers were given by some of us who perhaps had forgotten the value of these special things," he said.

Wood has been the target of simmering community anger over the murder. Demonstrators have appeared outside the jail. But Jeralee Underwood's parents, Jeff and Joyce, called on their neighbors to get rid of their hate, remembering that their daughter "was great at forgiving."

"The law will take its course," Jeff Underwood said. "And we know that our Heavenly Father will give him the reward he deserves."