NIPAWIN, Sask. — A crowdfunding page has been set up to support the mother of a seven-year-old girl who was found dead in a northeastern Saskatchewan home.
Police had issued an Amber Alert for Nia Eastman on Thursday after she was not returned to her mother the night before.
Nia's father, Adam Jay Eastman, was found dead in a rural area from self-inflicted injuries, and hours later Nia's body was discovered in a house in the small community of Choiceland.
Melinda Fleming, who started the GoFundMe campaign, says she wants to support Nia's mother, Crystal Eastman, as she mourns the loss of a sweet, talented and beautiful daughter.
Fleming said in an email that the Eastmans were neighbours and their kids played together a lot.
By Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $10,000 — double its initial goal.
"When I think of Nia, all I can picture is her smile that could light up a room. She was always so happy and kind," Fleming wrote on the website, which has a photo of the smiling, bespectacled girl.
"My kids loved going over to play with Nia. If they could, I'm sure they would have went over there every day! They grew close and formed a good friendship. We will all miss Nia dearly. She was taken from this life far too soon.
"Heaven gained a beautiful angel ... Rest easy beautiful girl."
In a comment posted to the page, Jason Gudmundson said TecIT Solutions in Choiceland has set up a donation box to collect funds for Nia's loved ones.
He said everyone with the technology company is heartbroken over the loss. He extended condolences to the girl's mother, her father's family "and anyone Nia touched in her short life."
"She truly was a breath of fresh air!"
Another commenter, Elise Stoltz, said help is needed for funeral expenses.
"Not cheap, let alone having to do it out of your own pocket. Any little bit helps."
An update posted to the site said any funds not used to cover funeral expenses will be put towards extending Nia's legacy.
RCMP say they are trying to piece together what happened after Nia's father picked her up from school on Wednesday.
A Facebook page belonging to a Jay Eastman features several photos of a little girl smiling happily with her father. People who knew Adam Eastman say he went by his middle name "Jay."
On Tuesday afternoon, a day before Nia was to be returned to her mother, there was a photo posted of the girl and an unidentified woman with the super-imposed caption "My World."
On Wednesday, the page's cover photo was changed to a picture of a skull and crossbones with the slogan: "Leave me alone. I've had enough."
There were no posts after that.
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
The Canadian Press