Wednesday was another painful milestone for a Gulfport family that has been through so much. October 15, 2014 would have been Janaya Thompson's sixth birthday. The young girl was brutally murdered in July. Gulfport police have charged Alberto Garcia with her murder.
"She was a sweet little girl," Janaya's neighbor Bobbie Culpepper said, "always laughing and playing and running up and down the street, and she had lots of little friends around here."
The beautiful girl with a big smile only lived a short life, but made a lasting impression on those who met her.
"She was just a happy little girl," neighbor Barbara Dulier said. "She was beautiful, her little spirit, everything."
"She was always high spirited," Eddie Dulier said.
Janaya's tragic death has left a void in the apartment complex she once called home. The parking lot where neighbors used to see Janaya laughing and playing is now only a place where people park their cars.
"You don't ever see children out here playing anymore," Culpepper said. "My neighbor moved away. She had a little girl that played with her and her mother called her that lived out of state and said she was coming to get her and they moved out the next day, or the day after. So I feel sure some people have moved out and not moved in because of that."
On a day supposed to be about celebrating and making memories with your family, we found Janaya's mother at the cemetery visiting with her daughter, holding birthday balloons. Janaya's family members shared a picture of a birthday cake for their lost loved one on Facebook.
"You lost an angel and try to remember the good things that happened and not the bad ones," Culpepper said, "and try and keep her memory alive in your heart."