Hundreds mourn 12-year-old girl killed on Belle Isle beach

Community also took time to pray for Ghadeer Saleh’s older sister who is recovering in the hospital

An emotional vigil was held Friday (Jun 3) night in Dearborn, where hundreds gathered to honor the life of a young woman killed in a hit-and-run crash on Belle Isle. Ghadeer Saleh and her sister were on Belle Isle Beach Memorial Day when a car veered on the beach, hitting both of them. Saleh died from her injuries while her sister remains in the hospital.

DEARBORN, Mich. – An emotional vigil was held Friday (Jun 3) night in Dearborn, where hundreds gathered to honor the life of a young girl killed in a hit-and-run crash on Belle Isle.

Ghadeer Saleh and her sister were on Belle Isle beach Memorial Day when a car veered on the beach, hitting both of them.

Saleh died from her injuries while her sister remains in the hospital.

The hundreds of people who came out tonight are proof of the mark she made in such a short amount of time.

“We have to do this, we have to support the family, and we have to show that we care,” said a man speaking at the vigil.

Prayers for 12-year-old Saleh are the same thing she did to arrive at Dearborn and escape Yemen’s violence.

Read: 12-year-old girl dies, 14-year-old stable after driver struck them on Belle Isle beach

Saleh’s death is difficult for her community to comprehend.

“Our community and every citizen of our city, this is our loss,” said a woman speaking at the vigil.

In March, Saleh started class at Lowrey Middle School. The staff there said she wanted to be a lawyer and didn’t let being a newcomer limit her.

The hundreds of flickering flames outside her school and the student artwork and messages give insight into the type of person that Saleh was.

“She left a mark on all of us,” said School Counselor Hassan Dakroub. “Usually, newcomers are reserved or quiet; she was very happy to be here.”

School administration and friends say she was thrilled to go to the beach for the very first time on Memorial Day. Her friends even got her a toy fish to bring with her.

On the day that she was at the beach, she said, “this is the best day of my life,’” said another woman speaking at the vigil.

And as challenging as it is to mourn, mourning brought some sort of peace.

“I know that in her last moments on this earth, she was indeed happy,” the woman said.

The community also took time to pray for Saleh’s older sister is recovering in the hospital.


About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.