NEW YORK -- Family, friends and people who never met Elizabeth Steinberg said goodbye to the 6-year-old abuse victim whose death, a rabbi said, may "help save the lives of other children."
Her natural mother, Michelle Launders, sat with bowed head during the Catholic and Jewish ceremony in Greenwich Village, blocks from the apartment where Lisa had lived with the unmarried couple who never legally adopted her, criminal attorney Joel B. Steinberg and Hedda Nussbaum.
Steinberg, 46, is accused of beating Lisa to death last week. Nussbaum, 45, who also faces a second-degree murder charge, remained hospitalized with injuries authorities believe were inflicted by Steinberg.
Nussbaum's parents, who fought unsuccessfully for the right to bury the child, were not among the mourners.
After the brief ceremony, Launders, 26, an insurance company secretary, stood alone by the casket surrounded by cards and flowers before a wooden cross.
Outside, hundreds of onlookers crowded 14th Street, waving and calling " 'Bye, Lisa" as the casket was put into a hearse to be driven to Long Island for burial in the Launders family plot.
Rabbi Dennis Math of The Village Temple urged mourners to take action if they suspect similar cases of abuse.
"I came to see and to say a prayer that she has peace in heaven," said Christine Beichec, 9, as she clung to her father's hand. She said she remembered her classmate Lisa as a child who never smiled.
"I thought if I went to the funeral, I'd get it out of my system," said Manhattan resident Paul Berntson, who did not know Lisa. "But it just sticks with you."
Meanwhile, Nussbaum's attorney appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court to complete an agreement with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau to delay grand jury action against her for at least a month while she recovers and decides whether to testify against Steinberg.