EDMONTON — A couple hundred people have attended a vigil at the Edmonton church where the body of a slain little boy was found last week.
It was standing room only at Good Shepherd Anglican Church, where young girls sang traditional indigenous songs and drums were played outside as people arrived on Tuesday evening.
The body of 19-month-old Anthony Raine was found outside of the church last Friday.
Police have said the toddler had bruise marks all over his body and died as the result of a severe blow to his head.
His father, Joey Crier, 26, and Crier's girlfriend, Tasha Mack, 25, have been caused with second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death, failing to provide the necessities of life and assault.
Neil Gordon, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, told those in attendance that the little boy's death has had devastating consequences for many people.
"We all know a toddler should have more opportunity for life, for experiencing joy and pleasure, to be given a chance to flourish, to run and jump and play," said Gordon.
"To find out what it's like to eat too much candy or pig out on too much pizza, to have his first day at school, his first sleepover, his first scraped knee, his first kiss. And it is such a waste. So much potential lost."
The two-hour drop-in service was open to the general public and many who came did not personally know the little boy.
"I think for us it was just about supporting this very strong community through a tragic and horrific thing," said one woman.
A wake has also been held at the Louis Bull First Nation near Maskwacis, Alta., where the boy's biological mother, Dalyce Raine, lives.
(The Canadian Press, CTV Edmonton)
The Canadian Press