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Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 3:09pm
(CNN) — Nearly three weeks after authorities found their charred remains in a family friend's home, Hannah Anderson's mother and brother were remembered Saturday at a public memorial service in Southern California.
"We are here to pray for Tina and remember her and for Ethan. Ethan doesn't need prayers. He is already an angel in heaven. And that is our great belief," said Father Kevin Casey at the opening of the service at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Santee.
Every pew in the church was full.
"All of us would like to take away the awful pain that was inflicted on Hannah and on the whole family. We ask God for resurrection and light in this darkness and death," said Casey.
Before the start of the service, Hannah Anderson and her family greeted churchgoers. They then took their places on the first row and joined the congregation as it sang "Amazing Grace" and a procession gave way to the Holy Eucharist.
Christina Anderson and her son, Ethan, 8, were killed by family friend James Lee DiMaggio, who then set fire to his house and kidnapped Hannah, authorities say.
DiMaggio kidnapped Hannah on August 4, setting off a manhunt that ended hundreds of miles away from his San Diego-area home.
After evading authorities for a week, DiMaggio was spotted in the Idaho wilderness on August 10. An FBI agent shot him dead and Hannah was returned to her family in Southern California.
In an interview on NBC Thursday morning, Hannah thanked law enforcement officials and others involved in her rescue. She singled out the horseback riders who first spotted her in the Idaho wilderness.
"I'd like to say thank you, because without them I probably wouldn't be here right now," she said.
Since her return, a series of twists have emerged.
DiMaggio, 40, left a life insurance policy that named Hannah and Ethan's grandmother, Bernice Anderson, as the beneficiary.
The insurance policy led DiMaggio's family to seek a DNA test of Hannah and Ethan to find out whether he fathered the children.
A representative for the Anderson family shot down the allegation.
In addition, phone records indicate Hannah and DiMaggio called each other numerous times before both their phones were turned off on August 4, a search warrant revealed.
San Diego County deputies searching DiMaggio's charred home also found a handwritten note, handcuff box, camping equipment, a DNA swab kit, two used condoms and letters from Hannah, according to an affidavit.
But secrecy has surrounded the investigation. Officials have not revealed contents of the letters and the note.