Members of the Harrisburg community came together on Saturday to remember a little boy. 9-year-old Jarrod Tutko, Jr. died of starvation and malnutrition last month.
His father is charged in his death, while his mother never claimed his body after the autopsy. Strangers gathered to give him a proper goodbye.
There were somber notes during Saturday's memorial service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Harrisburg. Dozens braved the rain to remember young Jarrod Tutko, Jr.
"This was an opportunity I think for us I think to recognize Jarrod and his life and think about all the other children. That's what I did, that's what I cried over, you know. Jarrod is at peace," said Trudy Gaskins, church member and attendee of the service.
The 9-year-old was found dead on August 1st. Authorities say he had been dead for several days. More than a month later, many are still coming to grips with the circumstances surrounding his death.
"How did this child get lost? I think that's the hardest. How could we be in a community like this and have him sort of fall through the cracks and that was painful to me that we weren't able to help earlier," added Ruth Graffius, also an attendee.
And so the community joined in solidarity, hoping that love and support will prevent cases like this from happening again.
"I just wanted to be here, support the families that live in the area and to show that people really do care about the children of Harrisburg," said Graffius.
Tutko's remains were cremated because his mother never claimed his body from the Dauphin County Coroner's office.
During the service, the Reverend reminded everyone that while the child wasn't claimed by anyone, he was embraced by many. Others expressed the same sentiment.
"We're all children of God and we need to care for one another and come together in these circumstances and be supportive of one another," Graffius said.
An anonymous donor organized and paid for a private funeral, complete with a cemetery plot and headstone.