CHICAGO - Friends and family gathered on Chicago's Southwest side to remember a 2-year-old boy allegedly murdered by his own father.
It's been a gut-wrenching week for this Little Village family. They were embraced and comforted by friends and perfect strangers who simply wanted to express their condolences.
Dozens of balloons were released into the skies over Little Village Saturday afternoon in memory of Mateo Garcia Aguayo who was brutally killed allegedly by his father last Wednesday.
Miguel Colula drove in from Midlothian to pay his respects.
Like Colula, many of those there Saturday, never met little Mateo or his family. But the horrific manner in which he was killed called them out in prayer.
Fr. Don Nevins from Santa Inés de Bohemia Catholic Church led the mourners, offering words of comfort to Mateo's family and all those affected by his death.
Many were overcome with emotion during the vigil.
The youngest of three siblings, Mateo would have turned three in the coming days.
Appearing in court for the first time Friday, his father, 37-year-old Rolando Ortiz stood charged with first degree murder.
Prosecutors said he confessed to the crime, stating he killed his son because he was playing and making noise while he was trying to sleep.
Mateo's grandfather, Juan Cabrera, remembered the 2-year-old boy as very playful.
Mateo's funeral will be held next Friday. Donations were being gathered to pay for the burial during Saturday afternoon's vigil.
The details of the services are being kept private.