LAURINBURG, N.C. (WNCN) — It was not the ending Raul Johnson’s family had hoped for.
On Monday night friends, and neighbors helped the family celebrate a life cut too short.
Four-year-old Raul was reported missing last Wednesday. The search for boy ended Saturday in Laurinburg when investigators discovered a body in a pond that they believe is Johnson’s.
“I really expected to go out and look for a couple of hours and say ‘where have you been? Don’t do that to us no more.’ Never in a million years did I expect this to be the outcome of the situation,” said Raul’s aunt Kasey Locklear.
Nearly 100 people came to Good News Chapel Monday night for a candlelight vigil for Johnson. The church had been the command center during the search.
The FBI believes Johnson’s death was an accident, although official identification and cause of death have yet to be released.
“When I found out they had found him, I wept, I cried,” said the boy’s uncle who spoke during the vigil.
Johnson’s aunts say the child never swam in the pond where his body is believed to have been discovered, but he loved playing in water.
They added that he did not know how to swim.
Authorities say the child may have wandered off while his grandfather was babysitting.
“I think he headed that way because of the animals. He loved animals more than anything,” said Locklear
Family members say Johnson loved the TV show “Paw Patrol,” and the color blue.
Locklear says Johnson’s mom has found comfort in the prayers and love from the community, but Johnson’s siblings are taking his death hard.
“Of course they are kids themselves, some not understanding, still trying to deal, still asking a lot of questions. They want to see him,” said Locklear.
Johnson’s family says while they are mourning the little boy’s death, they are happy for the time had with him.
“One thing we know — that he is in a better place now. He is in heaven,” his uncle said.
Johnson’s funeral is Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Northview Harvest Ministries.
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