Word of caution shared at Ashlynne Mike funeral

Noel Lyn Smith
A portrait of Ashlynne Mike was on display Friday inside the lobby of the Farmington Civic Center during a funeral ceremony for the 11-year-old.

FARMINGTON — People attending the funeral service for an 11-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered this week spoke about keeping their sons and daughters safe.

Delphinyia Clah was among the hundreds who attended the Friday service at the Farmington Civic Center.

In an interview before the service, Clah said she has five daughters, a son and a granddaughter who live in Lower Fruitland.

It is the same community where Ashlynne Mike and her brother, Ian Mike, 9, were kidnapped on Monday.

Ian was released by suspect Tom Begaye Jr. but Ashlynne’s body was found Tuesday on a dirt road near the Shiprock pinnacle.

Clah said news about the abduction and murder had a big effect on her children. She said she spoke to them about the importance of not entering the cars of people they do not know.

"I kept them home for two days to make sure everything was okay," she said.

That message of keeping children and families safe was repeated throughout the funeral service.

Shawn Mike, a cousin of Ashlynne, said as a parent, he knows fathers and mothers wish the best for their children.

"The awareness that we need to keep alive (is) watch your little children, love them is the message that we give," Mike said.

San Juan Chapter President Rick Nez asked attendees who are fathers and mothers to stand at one point during the service.

He said there are probably a number of good fathers in the audience who provide for and protect their families.

“There are some of you fathers here that probably need to make corrections. You need to be responsible – today is the day,” Nez said adding it is time for them to “recommit” to their families.

He continued with a message to the mothers, asking them to safeguard their children.

“If you do that, you will never weep. Nobody will hurt your child,” he said.

The message from Ojo Amarillo Elementary School Principal Abena McNeely included the importance of neighbors communicating. Ashlynne attended fifth grade at the school.

In the days following her death, the school received support from the Central Consolidated School District as well as from the surrounding school districts, McNeely said.

“We’ve come together to celebrate Ashlynne’s passing but let’s stick together in the good times and let’s be a village to raise our children together,” she said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4636.