As officials prepare to again search the Ohio River for the body of 6-year-old James Hutchinson on Sunday, community members continue to search and mourn both Hutchinson and 3-year-old Nylo Lattimore, whom officials believe was also put into the river in December.
On Saturday, community members gathered in Middletown for a vigil and balloon release for both children. Those who attended said they are determined to keep searching along the Ohio River for the boys, hoping to bring both families some sense of closure.
"To see everybody come out and support James and Nylo, I mean, it warms my heart that everybody does care," said Destiny Hill, who organized Saturday's event. "There are people out there that care."
Rising waters in the Ohio River stalled search efforts earlier in the week for both boys, as officials deemed the river too high and dangerous to effectively or safely search. Now that waters have receded, the officials plan to resume the search efforts.
"So now we have to come out and help them and make sure that their babies come back home to them," said Faith Burton, a friend of Nylo Lattimore's father. "So that's our goal. It's been our goal since December 15 for Nylo, and now baby James."
Prosecutors believe Lattimore was thrown into the river in December by Desean Brown, who also stands charged with killing the toddler’s mother, 29-year-old Nyteisha Lattimore.
Hutchinson’s body was discarded in the river Sunday by his mother, who confessed to Middletown police that he had died after hanging on to her car while she attempted to abandon him in a Preble County park.
So far, North Star incident commander Jeff Shari, who has been helping volunteers search the river for Lattimore since December, said search teams have covered close to 200 miles without success during the emotionally draining effort.