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Funeral for assaulted toddler is Wednesday

By Times Staff Writer
Published August 22, 2006

The funeral for a Tampa toddler will be held Wednesday, a week after she died after being sexually assaulted.

Heather Marie Romance was 2½ when she died Aug. 16 at Tampa General Hospital.

Investigators say she suffered severe injuries at the hands of her mother's boyfriend and babysitter, Eric James Tate, 18, of Lutz.

Tate is being held without bail at the Hillsborough County jail on a charge of capital sexual battery, as well as drug-related charges. He has not been charged in connection with her death.

Visitation for Heather will be from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Stowers Funeral Home in Brandon, Heather's grandmother Debbie Brown said.

The funeral will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The family requests that no flowers be sent. Instead, donations can be sent to the Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence shelter.

Two women who work with Heather's mother, Amy Romance, are working to set up a fund to help with funeral expenses and other costs, but it is not ready for donations, family members said.

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