Even as they were surrounded by friends at a goodbye ceremony, the girl's 16-year-old cousin, Lonnie Liner, sits in jail, charged as an adult in her stabbing death. He's also accused of critically wounding Dahlia's 14-year-old sister in the family's home in Littlerock.
Dahlia's father, Pastor James Lenaris, spoke to Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview.
"My daughter was truly saved, so right then, God has given me a peace that she's home in the presence of my heavenly father," said James Lenaris. "And so I'm able to cope and deal with that."
"[Lonnie] was most definitely loved. I've truly have embraced him, you know. I was mentoring him. He was in the church, he attended bible study regularly," said Lenaris. "This is truly a devastation I just can't, don't understand why he would do something like this. He never showed any indication that he would carry out this type of heinous act."
Despite his overwhelming grief the day of the tragedy, Lenaris says he doesn't hate his cousin.
"I have forgiven him you know, I've forgiven him," said Lenaris.
Despite his sorrow, Lenaris wanted to send his message to young people.
"My daughter, you know, loved this young man and the love was not given back," said Lenaris. "That's what I would like to say to the world, you know. It's time for us to love again, the fear of God has got to be, we have to have the fear of the lord."