Friday marked a year since Barway Collins was last seen alive, and his family gathered for a vigil in his memory on the unwanted anniversary.
The 10-year-old's body was found in the Mississippi River last April, after he was last seen on March 18, 2015 outside his apartment complex in Crystal, shortly after getting off of his school bus. His father Pierre later pleaded guilty to his killing.
Volunteers who assisted the search for him joined family, friends and members of Crystal police department to share memories by his grave at Glen Haven Memorial Cemetery.
KARE 11 reports Barway's biological mother Louise Karluah was among those in attendance, with mourners releasing blue balloons – the youngster's favorite color – to symbolize each year he lived.
Crystal police chief Stephanie Revering told the TV station the Barway case was the hardest ever undertaken by investigators, adding: "It has been difficult for the people who had to deal with this on a regular basis."
Neighbor Sheila Bradley-Smith was among those who assisted in the search, and told WCCO how she is still haunted by the memory of his body being found in the Misssissippi.
"You know the image of a child laying in the river, seeing his body up close? That never goes away," she said.