BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN) — It was a tearful night in Battle Ground Friday as dozens of loved ones and strangers remembered the life of a little boy who was killed earlier this week.
Community members gathered to light candles, pray and remember 3-year-old Jose Castillo-Cisneros, known to his family as Pepe, who was laid to rest earlier in the day.
“A beautiful boy, a beautiful boy,” neighbor Candy Harrison said.
Chaplain Rob Lloyd spoke to the crowd of people who came to offer comfort in the face of tragedy.
“You being here is powerful,” he said. “Your presence brings a comfort that you’ll never know. You are a living display of real hope carried in the heart of genuine people.”
Pepe’s preschool teacher Eileen Nicolaides came to pay her respects.
“He left school happy, that’s for you mommy,” she said. “We will love him and remember him forever.”
The family is now hoping to move out of the home. His grandfather, Fernando Cisneros, said there are simply too many memories. He can still see Pepe playing in the halls and they want a chance to start over somewhere new.
“I feel really sad, especially for my wife, my daughter,” Cisneros said. “We believe in god, and he’s working with us, I know.”
Donation jars were passed around to collect money for Pepe’s family. The funds will be used for funeral expenses and housing, organizers said.
There is also a GoFundMe account set up.
Pepe’s mother’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Ricardo Gutierrez, has been charged with his murder. He is being held in the Clark County jail on $1.5 million bail.