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Family, friends mourn loss of child (video)

By ErinPradia
April 3, 2012 at 8:05 p.m.
Updated April 3, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.

Attendees at a vigil  in memory of Kylar Johnson hold hands during a prayer at De Leon Plaza. Kylar died March 26.

Kenneth "Paw-pa" Hutchins led mourners in a spontaneous singing of "Amazing Grace" in the middle of a vigil for Kylar Johnson at DeLeon Plaza.

The 4-year-old boy was killed by a pit bull in the early morning hours of March 26.

"Kylar's sunshine has been keeping my world warm for four years. I am sorry God had to take him from us," said Hutchins as he addressed the 25 community members gathered at the vigil.

Kylar's death continues to be mourned by family, friends and community members. His mother, Michelle Smith Johnson, declined to comment as she attended the vigil along with honorary grandparents Kenneth and Ruth Hutchins and other close family friends.

Hutchins, a close family friend of Michelle's family, said he was present at Kylar's birth and at his funeral.

"And much time in between. I was very blessed," Hutchins said. "He was adorable, curious - not afraid of anything. And he loved everybody."

Ruth Hutchins clung to a red battery-operated candle that Kylar enjoyed playing with.

"Kylar was fascinated with lights. This is Kylar's candle. It used to sit on the coffee table in our house and he used to love to play with it," she said.

The last several weeks have been a rough time for the Johnson family. Kylar's maternal grandmother died on Ash Wednesday, Kenneth Hutchins said, and this morning, his father's mother was flown to a San Antonio hospital because of sudden health issues.

The father, Cole Johnson, was unable to attend the vigil because he was in San Antonio with his mother.

Maricela Garcia, 43, of Victoria, did not know the Johnson family personally, but organized the prayer vigil for Kylar to help members of the Crossroads community support one another during a time of loss.

"We're never really ready for death," said Garcia, whose father died six months ago after suffering a stroke. "These are the times when we realize life is too short. We need to make the best of it. Especially with little kids."

Copies of poetry that address some of the emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one - particularly a child - were distributed among those gathered.

The program consisted of poetry and Scripture readings and prayers by pastors Sam Hooker and Delores Ruby of Victory Christian Life Center.

"Death is something a lot of us suffer with," Garcia said. "We have to admit it's not our plans, but God's plans when to call us into his presence."

Gary Moses said he taught Kylar's father as a student at Patti Welder Magnet Middle School.

"He was always a very good and respectful student," Moses said. "I worked with his mother as well on several nonprofits. My deepest sympathies go out to their family for their loss."

Kylar's death touched Cathy Adcock, 48, of Victoria, who brought her 4-year-old daughter Abbie Adcock to pray at the vigil.

After hearing about the vigil on the news, Adcock said she dropped everything and rushed to DeLeon Plaza.

"It was very traumatic and it hit close to home," Adcock said. "I just thought, 'Oh, God. What are those parents going through?'"

Kylar's death highlighted the preciousness of the life of a child, Adcock said.

Garcia agreed.

"We always expect to go before our children," Garcia said. "But sometimes God has other plans."

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