ALBANY, N.Y. – In Albany on Thursday morning crowds of supporters made their way into the Wilborn Temple First Church for the funeral of 20-year-old Tonette Ruth Thomas.
Many still struggling to understand the tragedy, after Thomas was brutally attacked and stabbed to death last week.
“I can't believe that baby's gone. I can't believe it,” said family friend, Rosetta Scott of Albany.
Some mourners were still in shock Thursday as they walked up the isle of the church to say a final goodbye Thomas, who many knew as “TOE”.
The feeling of deep sadness was in every hug, as family and friends leaned on one another.
“She's going to be forever missed but not forgotten,” said Elizabeth Campbell of Albany.
“I just wish she was still here,” said Tonette's cousin, Ashley Logan.
As the service began some tears turned to smiles as the pastor called for a celebration of TOE'S life. The spirit was uplifting for many as they felt blessed to have known Thomas. She was a graduate of Albany High School and was currently attending Schenectady Community College.
“She was a peaceful person,” said Campbell.
“A kind spirit, a kind person. She was so quick to help somebody or ask what was wrong,” said Tonette's friend, Michala Childs.
Her parents found some comfort in the one thing they and many others will miss the most.
“Her smile, her smile. The joy that we were blessed to have her in our lives. Yes, this was beautiful,” said Tonette's parents, Dorothy Carter and Anthony Thomas.
“Her smile is what set her apart from everybody else, which showed the light inside of her,” said Childs.
As the service ended and mourners prepared to lay her to rest, the reality of life without their friend, sister, aunt, and cousin set in.
“Every time when I walk on Central now I can't even look at the store because I know she won't be sitting out front there,” said Logan.
The man police say killed Thomas and seriously injured her sister and aunt in the triple stabbing late last month, is charged with one count of second degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The case against Michael Anderson ,29, has now been moved from Albany City to Albany County Court.