The East Erie community is celebrating the life of 18-year-old Natavia Sanders, who was allegedly strangled by her mother, 38-year-old Rotesha Silveus, while they were living in Tampa, Florida. 

Relatives say Silveus had been off her schizophrenia medication for 90 days, and say this serves as a grim reminder to advocate for mental health treatment.

"She was medicated here [in Erie] and we thought that her moving [to Florida} would have her a better start," said Corinne Wilcott, aunt of Sanders, and sister of Silveus.

"But sometimes people need their medicine in order to function, and a lot of people don't take that serious. [I] do wish that Florida does find ways to help people more with mental health, not with welfare, food stamps, cash with medical [help]. So they can keep surviving and keep raising beautiful children, this is tragic. And it happened through mental health [going] untreated."

Wilcott says Sanders was also protecting her younger siblings, aged 3, 5 and 9, from her mother. 

"From what I hear, she was protecting her siblings," said Wilcott. 

And Wilcott wanted to give her side of the family a chance to celebrate the life of Sanders, as her father didn't want them at her funeral.

"Natavia Sanders' father, I'm not going to say his name, made it clear that he did not want any of my family members to attend the service, and it's probably because he's grieving a little bit differently," continued Wilcott. "So I created the celebration of her life for closure, for the siblings that and Natavia was protecting and also closure for my family, we are a very close family and may God find it in his heart to forgive him for that, but that's why this was created."

Sanders' siblings are now living with relatives in Erie. 

Silveus is charged with first degree murder, and is being held at Falkenburg Road Jail in Florida without bail.