Maleah Davis would have turned five years old this week.
She was reported missing by her mother last year after her mother's boyfriend claimed she had been abducted during a carjacking.
Later, he told authorities where her remains could be found, along a busy highway in Arkansas. He remains in jail, charged with tampering with a corpse, and injury to a child. His next court date is in April.
Maleah's biological father organized the party, and asked those who attended to blow bubbles, because she loved them.
Dozens of people turned out, many of whom knew Maleah from news coverage.
"We're from Katy," said Patrick Broadway, who drove to southeast Houston to honor the little girl's memory.
He brought his wife and two children with him. "It touched us to know how innocent and extraordinary a life she had and it's also a tragic story for sure," he said.
The crowd sang happy birthday. Maleah's 85-year-old great-great grandmother joined in.
"It gives me joy to know there are people who love Maleah like they do," she said.
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