Updated: Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 7:08 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 7:08 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Hundreds of people went to a northeast Albuquerque church this afternoon to mourn a child who many of them never knew.
At a memorial service for Tyrus Toribio, 3, people from all over the metro area said their goodbyes at Calvary Chapel in a tragedy that touched every one of them.
Toribio was found buried found in Alvarado Park on May 15. An intense hunt to identify the boy ended with the arrest of his mother who, according to police, confessed to killing him.
The chapel greeted mourners with the powerful first impression of a tiny coffin topped with brightly covered flowers and balloons. A larger-than-life picture of a smiling Ty Toribio comforted Emily Apodaca, his aunt, with memories of moments of happiness during the boy's short life.
"This little boy has left me with so many memories, and you will always be remembered," Apodaca said during the service. "He will always be remembered as the silly, happy little guy, and I will miss him forever. I love you, Tyrus."
Hundreds of strangers who never met Ty Toribio felt the pain, too. Before, and during the ceremony, they saw dozens of pictures of the boy they mourned today
"It really touched my heart because I have a little boy," Dorothy Emery said. "I just felt so sad, and I just had to pay my respects."
Mourner Raymond Castillo said he had an additional purpose in attending.
"And I felt that I had to come out here to let the other mothers know that there is a place to go if you do run into a situation like that," Castillo said.
So many images show a boy living in tough circumstances somehow finding the joy to smile, which is how his aunt said she wants people to remember him.
Zia Pueblo Gov. Ivan Pino said Ty Toribio is in a better place.
Pino cited Native American tradition in saying that while people should keep memories of Ty, it's time to let him continue his journey.
Tyrus will be buried on the Zia Pueblo following a two-day