North Texans said goodbye Monday night to "Wylie's Angel," the little boy they never knew, but loved like he was one of their own.
Several hundred people filled First Baptist Church in Wylie for a public memorial for 6-year-old Gerren Isgrigg.
In full military dress, his grieving father, Jerry Isgrigg, struggled to find the words to thank the people of Wylie.
“This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” Isgrigg said. “You put so much of your hearts and souls into Gerren.”
The town of Wylie adopted the special needs boy after his body was found abandoned in a pile of brush on April 15. Investigators and members of the community worked tirelessly for eight days to identify the child.
“If he was here and he could talk and laugh and smile and play, he would come up to each and every one of you and give you a huge kiss and wrap his arms around you, as I wish I could do,” Isgrigg said.
Isgrigg, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines, hadn't seen his son since 2007. He said he is now considering moving to Wylie after getting to know the complete strangers who cared and prayed for his son.
”He wasn’t born here, he wasn’t raised here, but in the week I’ve been here, it doesn’t seem he ever left. Y’all are his family," he said.
He said he is comforted by the thought that the little boy, who spent most of his short life sick, is no longer in pain.
Isgrigg said he plans to take his son’s body to Arizona for a private family burial.
Darlene Phillips, the boy's maternal grandmother and primary caretaker, remains in the Collin County jail on a charge of murder in Gerren's death. Investigators say Phillips left the blind, deaf and mute 6-year-old in a Wylie park on April 12.
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