CLEVELAND -- Hundreds of friends and strangers gathered at Kossuth Park to grieve for a three-year-old killed.
Emilliano Terry was found dead Monday afternoon, his body wrapped in trashbags. Cleveland Police initially took Terry's mother, Camilia Terry into custody.
Wednesday morning, the 20-year-old was charged with the aggravated murder of her son. In a vigil at the park where Emilliano was initially reported missing, community activists spoke out, saying his death was a collective failure.
Camilia Terry is a former foster child, who suffered abuse as a kid. More recently, Terry allegedly told friends she was having trouble with her three children, and was considering adopting them out. "She fell through the cracks and a three-year-old paid for it with his life," said a former social worker at the vigil. "It's a great tragedy. A great loss. Anytime you lose a baby, it's just terrible," said Tracy Gates. Gates' daughter is the Godmother to Emilliano.
She was one of many women in the crowd in tears and overcome with grief from the little boy's death. "I don't agree with what she did. But I understand that [Terry] may have been overwhelmed and she was crying out for help. Nobody came to her rescue, and she had no way out. She was so young," Gates said.
A few people brought candles and helped take up a collection for Shawn Dotson, the father of Emilliano. Though Dotson says he has not had contact with Terry or his son in over a year, he is planning a funeral.
He told Channel 3, he is not hoping for justice against Terry, just peace. "I'm not a vengeful person. I would not wish bad on anybody. Just peace. Peace of mind and of heart. For the both of us," he said.
The memorial left behind in the park is now filled with stuffed animals and candles. Someone tied up a child's birthday balloon with the number "3".
Signed prayers fill a poster taped to the tree. A red, white and green wreath, as well as a Christmas tree and angel now stand at the site.