Heartbreaking farewell for drowned Irish child Aisling Symes

A final farewell has been said to Aisling Symes, the New Zealand toddler whose remains were found in a drain on Tuesday.

Aisling’s funeral was held on Friday, a week after the 2-year-old went missing in Henderson, a suburb of Auckland.

Hundreds packed into the Ranui Baptist Church as Aisling’s family said goodbye to their little girl. The church was filled with balloons, flowers, teddy bears and paintings.

During the 75-minute service, Aisling’s casket was adorned with the Irish flag, New Zealand flag, flowers, a photo and a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear that was bought on the day of the disappearance.

The toddler’s parents, Irishman Alan Symes and mother Angela, released a dove into the air as a tribute to their deceased daughter. Then older sister, Caitlin, 5, freed a wicker basket full of doves, smiling as they flew out.

It was suspected that the toddler was kidnapped after she disappeared on October 5 while playing at her late grandparents’ home with her sister Caitlin.

Her body was discovered in a drain on the property, and it was determined that Aisling drowned to death.

"She wasn't meant to go this early, it was just an accident," Pastor Russell Watts of the Symes’ family church told the New Zealand Herald. "We so hoped and prayed this wouldn't happen for another 70 or 80 years.

"For two years this loving, confident, fun, energetic little girl brought so much love and life to so many people,” and added Aisling is “playing with the angels now.”