9-year-old Antonia Candelaria first tornado victim to be buried

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Friends and family attended funeral services for a 9-year-old girl killed by Monday's tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb.

Thursday's funeral for Antonia Candelaria was the first since the storm that killed 24 people. Ten of the victims were children.

Relatives and friends huddling under umbrellas amid a downpour hurried into a chapel where mournful country songs played. The front of the chapel was filled with photos of a smiling Antonia.

She was one of seven children who perished when the tornado flattened an elementary school in the city of Moore.

A family photo released by her mother shows the girl beaming with a big smile and wearing a white sun hat.

In an online obituary published on vondelsmithmortuary.com, Antonia is described as "the sweetest little ladybug" who was a beloved daughter.

"Tonie had the sweetest, most gentle and loving spirit about her," the obituary reads. "She was a beautiful young lady on the inside and out. She had her own most special and beautiful way of looking at the world. She could find the positive, good and joy in everything."

According to the obituary, Antonia always danced, not walked, to the beat of her own drum.

"She banged her drum very well. She would bang that drum so loud that others could not help but to start dancing to her beat as well," the obituary reads.

Antonia had a passion for singing and had recently auditioned to sing in the Plaza Towers talent show that was to be held on the last day of school.

Authorities say the tornado caused $2 billion in damage and destroyed or damaged up to 13,000 homes.

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