HAGERSTOWN, Md. (ABC7/AP) - School officials in western Maryland say a 9-year-old girl who was found slain and dismembered in Indiana lived in Hagerstown earlier this year.
In Maryland, Aliahna became fast friends with a classmate named Kymberley Schwartz.
Kymberley tells ABC7's Jay Korff that on Christmas Day she was expecting a call from her best friend, Aliahna. They were going to talk about what they got for Christmas.
But that call never came. Instead, the Schwartz family heard the tragic news about Aliahna.
Now, Kymberley says she sends balloons to heaven with a wish for Aliahna.
Rhonda Schwartz tells Korff that she has been consoling her daughter and finding ways to honor a friendship and a life precious to Kymberley.
Washington County school officials say they are offering grief counseling to those who knew Aliahna Lemmon. They say she attended Winter Street Elementary School from January to June of this year.
Authorities in Fort Wayne, Ind., say a neighbor, Mike Plumadore, has confessed to killing the girl Dec. 22 while babysitting her and her two sisters in the mobile home park where they all lived.
Plumadore allegedly told police he hit her repeatedly in the head with a brick, stashed her remains in a freezer and then dismembered the body with a hacksaw.