"I don't know what I'm going to do without him. He was so close to me," said Janet Watson, victim's grandmother.
The 2-year-old was crushed by a freight train just after 4:30 p.m. Thursday on railroad tracks that run behind the family's mobile home.
The engineer tried to stop the 100-car train but couldn't, according to railroad officials.
"There he was on the tracks, here comes the train, and it was too close to him, and I was like, 'Please, Ryan.' And he looked back at me, had his pretty blue eyes, and I'm never gonna see him again," sobbed mom April Watson. "I just don't know why this had to happen."
Janet Watson believes some sort of fence around the train tracks might have saved her grandson's life.
"I don't know if it's the railroad's job or my landlord's job," said Watson.
Railroad officials have offered their condolences to the family and released a statement: "It would be impossible to fence our entire system. Trespassing remains a tremendous problem. We hope to work with the community to cut down on these types of tragedies."
The owner of the mobile home park where the Watsons live said nothing like this has happened in his 25 years there. He also said he never considered asking the railroad to put up a fence and never considered paying to put one up himself. He says that is the responsibility of each individual tenant.
Neighbors said it appears the boy just wandered off.
"Somebody told somebody else to watch him while they went to the store to get something for his birthday for him. The person they told to watch, they wasn't watching him. I don't understand that one," said Mike Wilson, victim's neighbor.
The family was planning Ryan's third-birthday party for Sunday. The boy was recently diagnosed with autism and was in therapy. But his relatives recalled a happy, bright and active child.
"He was always smiling, giggling. He's always, 'Grandma, Nana, Grandma this. Grandpa that.' He was a character. So, he was a good little boy. Like I said, he's going to be severely missed," said Rich Gaskey, Ryan's great uncle.