MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WDTN) — A makeshift memorial continues to grow outside of 6-year-old James Hutchinson’s house and Middletown City Schools held a vigil for him Tuesday night at Barnitz Stadium.
The memorial at James’ house has been growing over the last 24 hours. Community members have been laying down candles, signs, toys and more in memory of the first grader. Earlier tonight, many people who didn’t know James personally said they wanted to attend to show the family the Middletown community supports them.
“He will now forever be our panther guardian angel,” said Middletown City School District Superintendent Marson Styles.
Stadium seats filled to the brim and people leaning on one another to share one simple message tonight.
“James’ life mattered, not just to his family but to his teachers and friends at Rosa Parks, his life mattered to this entire community,” said Styles.
The Middletown community lit candles and shared stories of 6-year-old James Hutchinson, a life taken way too soon.
“No, it’s very frustrating and it’s really hard to understand and it’s just heartbreaking,” said Penny Propps, a resident of Middletown.
Balloons and lanterns were released among many prayers said. Many families said they’re holding their children extra close tonight.
“Me being a mother, I love my kids and can’t go a day without them,” said Megan Coats, a resident of Middletown. “I never have and never will, so imagining a parent being able to do something like that to somebody they made, it’s their own blood and love, it’s just indescribable.”
The community will continue to mourn the loss of James for decades to come, something nobody understands.
“It’s just hard, it’s hard to grasp and understand,” said Propps. “I explained to both of the girls last night, as a mom and as a grandmother, it’s impossible. How do you explain it to them when you don’t understand it yourself?”
School officials say grief support will be available to students and staff all week.