ORLANDO, Fla. - Family and friends of 16-year-old Alexandria Chery gathered at an Orlando church Monday night, just hours after the prime suspect in her death appeared in court for a bond hearing.
Pastor David Jacques spoke about Chery to the dozens of people in attendance at Kingdom Church.
"She came to the front and cried out as we prayed with her. And at the end of the service she stopped one of the elders and asked, 'I want you to pray with me again so I can remain strong in my faith,'" said Jacques.
On Monday, prosecutors added a new charge against Sanel Saint Simon, the boyfriend of Chery's mother, in connection with the case. He's now being charged with felony obstruction of a criminal investigation.
A judge raised the bond for Saint Simon to $500,000 earlier Monday after the state filed a motion to increase it from $7,500.
But the new felony charge carries no bond and Saint Simon will face a judge at the Orange County Jail for a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
New documents obtained by Channel 9 indicate authorities are processing blood found in Saint Simon's car to see if it matches that of Chery.
The 16-year-old was reported missing early last week, and family members said her body was found Friday morning in Osceola County.
"I know that, I know that she is home safe with God. I know," said church member Yvonne Fergus.
Saint Simon is accused of lying about Chery's disappearance and trying to clean up the bloody crime scene at her home.
Chery’s mom found her room ransacked and detectives discovered blood on her belongings and bleach used to clean it up.
Saint Simon's uncle told authorities his nephew asked him to lie about him driving the vehicle, which was spotted in the area where Chery's remains were found.
The car was apparently pulled over to the side of the road with its hazards flashing the same day Chery vanished, authorities said.
Deputies said they're still working with the Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the body, but are moving forward with their investigation as if the body is Chery’s.
As the family grieves and seeks justice, the church community is rallying to raise money for her funeral.