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Memorial for Michigan boy fatally stabbed on playground

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Hundreds of mourners gathered at a western Michigan church to say goodbye to a 9-year-old boy fatally stabbed at a playground.

Pastor Brad Kalajainen of Cornerstone Church said Michael Connor Verkerke's "life had barely begun."

Family and friends who spoke at the memorial service Wednesday in Kent County's Caledonia Township remembered the boy who went by Connor as big-hearted and fun-loving. They cited his varied interests that included dancing, singing, superheroes and the Cub Scouts.

Seven-year-old Kameron Verkerke said his big brother "is in a better place."

A 12-year-old boy is accused of repeatedly stabbing Connor on Aug. 4 in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. He's charged with murder. The Associated Press isn't naming him because of his age.

He's designated as an adult in the juvenile court system.

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