Community, Family Gathered to Celebrate the Life of a Murdered 9-Year-Old Girl

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(KNX 1070) -- Hacienda Heights community members and family gathered Monday to celebrate the life of Trinity Love Jones, the 9-year-old found murdered on March 5. 

The funeral service for Trinity was open to the public in recognition of the outpouring of community support for the girl and her family in the weeks following her death.

The service began with a bell-tolling ceremony outside St. John Vianney Church, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road in Hacienda Heights, along with a 75- candle procession escorting the casket into the church.

Although it was held at a Catholic church, the service was interfaith, jointly celebrated by associate church pastor the Rev. Egren Gomez, along with a protestant pastor and Buddhist monk.

"After speaking with Trinity's father and witnessing each of you here today, I now realize this is who she is: a unique, gifted, charismatic, beautiful, life-of-the-party young girl, and as her father described her, someone with so much character," Pastor Darnell Hammock said.

Hammock, making note of the variety of people attending the service, said Trinity clearly had the capacity "to transcend generational borders and surpass economic, religious and even political party affiliations."

Gomez said that despite the "destruction and darkness" that inevitably occur in life, "Today, Trinity comes down from heaven and blesses the darkness with her eternal life."

Trinity's father, Antonio Jones, urged attendees "to wear bright, cheerful colors, as we are celebrating a young and vibrant life."

"We sincerely appreciate all of the prayers and kind acts of love and generosity shown to our family," he wrote in a posting on Facebook last week.

He asked that people sending flowers choose shades of lavender -- "Trinity's favorite color" -- along with pink and white.

"If you would prefer, please bring a new children's book. All books collected will be donated, in memory of Trinity, to children in need," Jones wrote.

Jones' mother, Taquesta Graham was charged with her murder last week along with Graham's friend, Emiel Lamar Hunt.

Bells toll in Hacienda Heights at the funeral for 9yo Trinity Love Jones. @KNX1070

— Margaret Carrero (@KNXmargaret) March 25, 2019

Graham, 28, was extradited from Texas to California last Thursday. She was initially held without bail for an unrelated parole violation, but on Monday was booked on suspicion of murder for her daughter's death, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide investigators are looking for additional information and leads in the Trinity Love Jones, 9, murder case. 

The girl's body was found about 10 a.m. March 5 at the bottom of an embankment close to Colima Road and the 3400 block of Hacienda Boulevard, near the His Lai Buddhist Temple. County workers clearing some brush came upon the body, which was partially inside a black rollaway-type duffel, with her head and upper body protruding from the partially zipped bag.

9 year old Trinity Love Jones remembered as a unique, gifted, charismatic little girl. Her body will be laid to rest today. Her mother and her boyfriend have been charged with her murder. @KNX1070

— Margaret Carrero (@KNXmargaret) March 25, 2019

Hunt is due to be arraigned in a Pomona courtroom on April 16. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.

The complaint against Hunt, 38, alleges he has a 2005 conviction for child abuse from San Diego County. He could face up to 50 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office.

As sheriff's homicide detectives investigated the girl's death, Hunt and Graham were stopped about 6 a.m. March 8 in his SUV at a border checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. He was initially released but was arrested the following morning, after being found sleeping in his black Nissan Armada SUV in a lot near San Diego International Airport, and booked on suspicion of Trinity's murder.

 After Graham was arrested, Hunt began driving back to California, officials said. Investigators have not revealed how they learned he was in San Diego.

Graham, Hunt and Trinity moved from a family member's home in Long Beach in May and during the past 10 months, their extended family had limited contact with them, according to the sheriff's department.

 They were homeless just prior to the girl's death and were living in a Santa Fe Springs motel or in their vehicle, officials said.

 Investigators announced earlier that they believed Trinity's body had been left along the equestrian trail within 48 hours of being found, but since then have come to believe she had been left at the scene during the afternoon of March 1.

"There were no open or active Department of Children and Family Services cases involving Trinity," officials said.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has said there are "several red flags in Trinity's life that need to be followed up on" and she vowed to "get to the bottom of what could have been done, if anything, to prevent her death and the suffering she undoubtedly endured."

The coroner's office has ruled Trinity's death a homicide, but officials have not said how the girl died and the case is on a security hold.

Antonio Jones, who identified as Trinity's father, told NBC she was "full of character, full of love, full of joy."

"We just want answers," he said. "We want justice." 

-CNS and KNX 1070