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Slain Girl Scout, Abducted off Bicycle, to be Buried

January 20, 1996 GMT

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Friends, even some who didn’t know her, filed past a blue casket to say their goodbyes to Amber Hagerman a week after she was yanked off her bike and whisked away by a man in a black pickup truck.

Four days after being abducted from the parking lot of an abandoned grocery, the 9-year-old Girl Scout’s nude body was found in a creek. Initial autopsy results indicate she died of cut wounds to the neck.

Her funeral was scheduled for this afternoon at First United Methodist Church of Arlington.

At her wake Friday, dozens of mourners filed past the casket surrounded by pink floral sprays. Amber was clad in a pink satin dress with her arms around a teddy bear.

``I just wanted to see her and feel the grief that her family is feeling,″ said Willie Randolph, 19, who attends the same technical school as Amber’s mother.

As friends and family prepared to say goodbye to the brown-haired third-grader, investigators pursued leads from the area where Amber’s body was discovered Wednesday by a man walking his dog.

Her body was found in a rain-swollen creek outside an apartment complex about eight miles north of where she was abducted. Investigators believe the body was dumped upstream and washed north by strong thunderstorms.

Amber’s parents saw the body on Thursday, said Jimmie Whitson, Amber’s grandfather. ``Donna got to hold her hand and kiss her on the face and brush her hair,″ said Whitson. ``She was a whole lot better after that.″

Authorities were looking for a man in a black pickup truck. A witness saw him snatch the screaming Amber Saturday as she rode her bicycle.

Police also combed the creek and surrounding neighborhoods for Amber’s missing clothing: a T-shirt from ``Camp Heart,″ pink pants and brown suede shoes.

Investigators had not yet determined Friday when she died or if she had been sexually assaulted, said Dee Anderson, a spokesman with the Arlington police department.

That didn’t stop Amber’s mother from calling for tougher laws governing sex offenders.

``They either need to be locked up for life or be killed,″ Donna Whitson said.