- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Hundreds in northeast Ohio gathered to honor a couple and their 10-year-old granddaughter who died in a house fire hours before a man suspected of raping the girl was to go on trial.

A vigil was held Tuesday evening in Youngstown to remember the three who died last week: 61-year-old Judith Schmidt, 63-year-old William Schmidt and their granddaughter Corinne Gump.

Family and community members joined together at a neighborhood baseball field for a fundraiser before lighting candles and walking to the house where the fire occurred.

Organizers said funds raised at the event would be given to the girl’s father to help cover funeral costs, the Vindicator reported.

WKBN reported that Lisabeth Gump, Corinne’s aunt, thanked the community for its support, adding that the family would not have been able to have a proper funeral for the girl and her grandparents without the donations they received.

“We are still comprehending this ourselves,” she said.

The fire broke out early on March 31, hours before a man who prosecutors say is accused of raping Gump was set to go on trial.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Police say the fire didn’t appear to be linked to the trial and there were no signs of criminal activity. Prosecutors said the trial was delayed and the defendant’s bond was revoked as authorities investigate evidence that he tried to bribe someone.

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