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"Someone . . . would have loved this little girl'

Once a hole dug in the dark to hide a despicable crime, the sandy site where the body of a 7-year-old beating victim was found has become a shrine.

All day Saturday they came _ dozens of people bearing pink carnations and fluffy, white teddy bears, notes and signs, grief and rage. Some wept; others knelt in prayer.

"Someone out there would have loved this little girl," said Amy West, her voice breaking as she stood by Christina Holt's grave with her own 8-year-old daughter. "I would have loved her."

Christina's stepfather, Walter John Zile, has been charged with her murder. He's accused of beating the little girl to death in their Singer Island home last month while her mother looked on. Police dug up Christina's body Friday.

A hysterical Pauline Zile had said her daughter disappeared from a bathroom in a Fort Lauderdale flea market. But her story fell apart a few days later when police found blood stains in the couple's apartment and interviewed witnesses who said they saw John Zile beat Christina in the past.

On Thursday, the Ziles confessed to police, revealing that Christina has been dead for six weeks and that they concocted the kidnapping story to cover for her disappearance.

"He should be given the chair or, better, beaten to death," said Kathleen Monaco of Palm Beach Gardens, as she stood at the site Saturday. "The anger I feel and so many people feel _ we want to rip these people apart."

"The mother never said a word and helped hide the child in the closet for four days?" said Hollywood parent Karen Shaler. "That poor little girl. She was so defenseless. This woman should be severely punished."

Riviera Beach police were to present evidence to a Palm Beach County grand jury today.