Friends and family say goodbye to Cadence Harris - KCTV5 News

Friends and family say goodbye to Cadence Harris

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Friends and family said goodbye to the 5-year-old girl killed after a police chase and short standoff Friday.

The visitation for Cadence Harris started at 9 a.m. at the Faith Evangelistic Center in Leavenworth with funeral services following. It was a congregation the girl's mother and grandfather attended.

"I've known the Harris family my entire life. They have a silent type of strength. I know talking to the family they do not have bitterness toward anyone for any reason whatsoever," said Pastor Keith Conard who grew up with Cadence's grandfather.

A large crowd was in attendance to pay their respects to the little girl. Family then made their way to a cemetery in Missouri.

The church's pastor said what the family needs now is spiritual support.

"During tragedy people do come together and I saw that a lot over the last few days with this family and their friends. Especially with services today, people really rallied around them. People really do come together," Conard said.

The Leavenworth County attorney charged Marcus McGowan with aggravated child endangerment, two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Cadence died last Friday after McGowen allegedly abducted her from an Atchison home and became involved in a high-speed chase with authorities. McGowan allegedly turned his weapon on police after he crashed in a construction zone in Leavenworth and they fired multiple shots at him.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said gunfire from officers did not hit Cadence or the suspect's vehicle.

Recordings involving the Platte County Sheriff's Office, which had deputies chasing McGowan Friday night, show that deputies were told that Cadence had been shot. Deputies also radioed that McGowan was firing at them.

Wednesday the Leavenworth County attorney did not directly accuse McGowan of firing the shot, only saying Cadence died while McGowan was committing felonies, which is the basis of the first-degree murder charge.

Cadence's mother, Christina Harris, said she and McGowan got into a fight on Friday.

Harris said he pulled a gun on her, so she had to run to a neighbor's house to call police. By the time she went back to the home, McGowan had taken her daughter.

McGowan was not the child's biological father, but he had an on-again off-again relationship with Harris and was like a father to Cadence, family members say.

While Harris said she expected McGowan to harm her, she said she never expected McGowan would harm her daughter because she said he loved Cadence so much.

A community effort to support Cadence's family began after her death. Her mother's employer, the High Noon Saloon, spearheaded an effort to help pay for cremation and funeral costs as well as overall support for the family.

The bar had planned a benefit for Friday night, but had to postpone it.

One co-worker has been collecting donations and letting the public know about developments through the Facebook page called Angels for Cadence. They also got the support of a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse, who came from Kansas City to provide an escort from Leavenworth to her grave site.

Nearly 100 people attended her services Friday. Conard said his sanctuary was filled with supporters.

"It was a lot of sorrow, which was to be expected. But the services went extremely well. They just want to be able to move on and get through their grief and live again," he said.

Conard said his church will continue to support the Harris family and keep the young girl's memory alive.

"She was just a beautiful little girl, loved her mother very much and was just an active little child. Loved life greatly," he said.

The church donated its services.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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