BROCKTON (CBS) – Members of the Brockton community held a candlelight vigil Monday to mourn the deaths of 13-year-old Rafael Andrande and 12-year-old Tiago Depina, cousins who drowned Saturday night while skipping rocks at D.W. Field Park.
After a difficult day at South Middle school where grief counselors helped kids deal with the loss of two classmates, nightfall brought many parents to D.W Field Park.READ MORE: 'I Felt Numb': Mother Outraged Over Dracut High School Yearbook Message Of Support For Son's Accused Killer
On a shoreline overwhelmed by panic and despair just 48 hours earlier, candles filled the hands of nearly 300 mourners who came hoping to ease a family’s pain.
“Look at how we come out and support each other when we need it,” said Mira Nunes, the boys’ aunt. “And that’s what counts.”
It was Saturday night when the young cousins skipping stones on Waldo Lake died after one somehow fell in and the other tried to save him.
Police divers eventually retrieved their bodies in 10 feet of water.
The lakeside memorial of flowers, teddy bears, and balloons grew steadily with many Brockton residents saying they felt compelled to pay their respects in person.READ MORE: 58 At Massachusetts Schools Test Positive For COVID-19 In Last Week
“I didn’t know these kids but they are my kids,” said Hattie Bester.
The family huddled in the midst of the vigil, where the mayor admitted there is no way to make sense of it all.
“As a parent I don’t have the answers for you, but as a Catholic and a Christian, I can tell you that Tiago and Rafael are in heaven,” said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan.
There was a family hug for the man who plunged into the water trying to find the boys before first responders arrived and many of those who turned out say they just wanted the family to know that the community cares.
“I just want to thank you all for the prayers and the support,” Nunes said.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
An online fundraiser for the boys’ family has raised more than $15,000.