‘Sweet’ Uvalde 9-year-old loved ‘Encanto,’ sports, dancing

Siria Arizmendi via AP
This undated handout photo provided by Siria Arizmendi shows her niece, Eliahna García, 10. García is among those killed in Tuesday, May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Eliahna Garcia loved the Disney movie “Encanto,” and the studio’s costume makers sent her parents a custom-made gown and other keepsakes to help them remember the 9-year-old after her burial.

Family was holding a funeral Monday for Eliahna, also known as “Ellie,” at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, two days after what would have been her 10th birthday. She was among 19 students at Robb Elementary School killed in a mass shooting, along with two teachers.

Her family had been preparing a big birthday bash at her grandmother’s house. Eliahna had hoped for gifts related to “Encanto.”

“She loved that movie and talked a lot about it,” aunt Siria Arizmendi told The Associated Press.

San Antonio-area television stations reported that Disney sent a dress resembling the one worn by Isabela, the older sister in “Encanto,” whose special power is making flowers grow. The dress is lilac and decorated with flowers.

Her aunt, a fifth-grade teacher at Flores Elementary School, also in Uvalde, said Eliahna loved to dance and play sports. Her family described her on a GoFundMe page as a sweet girl “with a lovely and beautiful soul.”

Eliahna already had been practicing choreography with her older sister for a quinceañera party, even though it still was five years away.

“She was shy but changed in front of the camera,” her aunt said.