Community gathers at a memorial remembering the life of Layla Aiken


An emotional goodbye to a little 8-year-old girl.

Right now, family members, students and strangers are filling the Gallaher Funeral Home to remember the life of Layla Aiken.

Layla died last Monday, March 25, when a truck hit her while she waited at her bus stop.

8-year-old girl in a hit-and-run crash Monday morning. (Credit: Aiken Family)
8-year-old girl in a hit-and-run crash Monday, March 25. (Credit: Aiken Family)

There was no shortage of hugs or tears as family, friends and even some strangers remembered the life of Layla Aiken at her memorial.

“It’s amazing how the communities come together for this,” said Rachel Ortiz, Layla’s aunt. “But I just I want my family to just feel a little bit more at peace and we haven’t had a time yet.”

Layla’s aunt Rachel Ortiz held back tears as she talked about the Cape Coral second grader whose picture she said she can not look at without crying.

Layla’s mom, still visibly in shock as she arrived at the Fort Myers funeral home on Wednesday.

Hand in hand with Layla’s two brothers.

Layla, 8, was hit and killed last Monday as she waited in the grass for her school bus. Her two brothers were there as it happened. The police will only confirm that it has a person of interest in Layla’s case.

Layla’s death sparked a movement for better bus stops and street lighting for kids. It is something her family said they are grateful.

“I think it’s amazing there’s benches out there at some of the stops and people are taking that initiative and doing that,” Ortiz said.

But as they said goodbye to the little girl whose personality filled a room, they asked that the community remembers.

“Just remembering just her smile, her sweetness about her and just remember her,” Ortiz said. “Don’t let this die with her.”

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