Family bids farewell to toddler killed by gunfire
Eastpointe — Friends and family decked in white for unity said their final farewells to two-year-old Makanzee Selena Oldham on Saturday as her body was taken from a church in a red carriage pulled by two horses.
The funeral brought tears and memories of Makanzee's short life, but it looked forward to a day when her death would be brought to justice and when the mourners would reunite with Makanzee.
“It's hard on this side to understand that at two years old, she's home and in the Lord's arms," said Pastor Kevin Lancaster, of the Love Life Family Christian Center in Eastpointe .
Makanzee died May 27 at 5:10 p.m. at St. John Hospital days after she was shot in the head while sitting in a car after gunfire broke out outside a home on the city’s east side. Her father, Marcell Oldham, and two other children in the vehicle were not harmed.
Three Detroit men, Cleveland Tyvon Smelley, 30; Deonta Charles Bennett, 21; and Antoine Lamar Smelley, 32, are charged with first-degree murder and seven counts of assault with intent to murder.
Bishop Daryl Harris spoke at the funeral on behalf of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig and the police department's chaplains.
"We wanted you to know from the city of Detroit that you grieve today, and we grieve with you," Harris said to the family. "The police department will work very diligently to remain with you to make sure justice is served."
The only daughter of Marcell Oldham and Marquia Crosby, Makanzee loved to sing and dance, especially to "Let it Go" from the movie "Frozen," according to her obituary. She was loved by her parents, was close to her cousins, and was found frequently carrying a pink blanket she owned since birth, the obituary read.
"Life without you is nonexistent," Crosby said in a statement in the program. "You made me a better person, and I thank you for giving me the chance to become a great mom and loving me no matter what."
Lancaster and other clergy urged family and friends to use the tragedy to deepen their relationship with God and work to end violence in the community.
"We have to make up our minds that this violence has to stop," Lancaster said. "When emotions are raised and when feelings are out of control, I'm going to ask you: Will you see her again?"
Makanzee was to be buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.