DELTA, B.C. - The woman who taught slain model and actor Maple Batalia in Grade 1 remembered her former Surrey, B.C. pupil as a really good kid at funeral services on Saturday.
Suzanna Yee was one of hundreds who packed a funeral home in nearby Delta for the service.
"I had lots of naughty kids that year, and she was one of the really good kids," said Yee. "She kept me sane."
Batalia died last week after being shot in the parkade of Simon Fraser University's campus in Surrey.
Yee said she has dug out photos from Batalia's Grade 1 class and will always remember her former pupil as a sweet, six-year-old with long braids.
Another woman who worked with Batalia but didn't want to be identified said that when she first heard about Batalia's death she thought it was an accident.
"When I heard what actually happened, I just burst out into tears," she said. "She's completely left an imprint on my heart. I will never, ever forget her."
But many others who attended the funeral were still in shock and were unable to speak to the media as they filed into the funeral home.
On Friday, police released surveillance video of the suspect's white Dodge Charger leaving the murder scene Sept. 28.
Maple's father, Harkirat, also appealed for Maple's killer or killers to come forward and talk to the police.
He called Batalia his "little angel" as he urged people to put away fear and contact police, saying Canada delivers some of the best justice in the world.
As many as 50 police officers have been investigating the slaying.
Harkirat previously said Maple, the youngest of three children, dreamed of becoming a doctor. She was born near Mumbai, India, and was only six months old when the family moved to Canada.
Batalia had a small role in the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and was modelling and acting to help pay for her education.
(News1130, CKNW980, The Canadian Press)