AP Photo/Nodaway-Holt High School via Maryville Daily Forum
12/22/2004 at 08:00 AM EST
About 400 people gathered in Maryville, Missouri, Tuesday for the funeral of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant with her first child when she was strangled and her baby was cut from her womb.
According to local TV reports, attendees filled the flower-laden Price Funeral Home and cars lined the streets outside on what was a bitter cold day. The Rev. Harold Hamon, who married Bobbie Jo and Zeb Stinnett in spring 2003 at the Skidmore Christian Church, spoke at the service.
"This is one of those times in life when you would like to have the right words, but I don't know what to say," Hamon said as he stood before the silver-and-wood casket, adorned with a simple garland of lilies. "In 50 years, I have done other funerals. I have seen many terrible things, but this is the apex."
Many mourners were overcome with grief, and one tearful woman, carrying a bouquet of pink roses, was so distraught that she had to be taken outside.
Stinnett's mother found her daughter in a pool of blood in her small home on Thursday and the baby she was carrying was missing.
Lisa M. Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kansas, a woman Stinnett knew from dog shows, was arrested Friday after friends said she tried to pass off the baby as her own. Montgomery has been charged with kidnapping resulting in death.
The infant, who has been named Victoria Jo Stinnett, spent the weekend in a Topeka hospital before going home Monday afternoon with her father and another relative. A news photo of the baby girl shows a healthy, pink-cheeked child.