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Search-and-rescue crews spent three days looking for Raul Gonzalez Johnson, who wandered off Wednesday from his Laurinburg home. The FBI said it believes Raul drowned in a pond off Pea Bridge Road on Saturday afternoon.
On Monday, a candlelight vigil was held to remember Raul, who was recalled as a happy boy.
"He was a very happy child. He loved animals and he loved trucks," said Kasey Locklear, who is the boy's aunt. "I really expected for us to go out and look for a couple hours and say, 'where have you been? Don't do that anymore.' Never in a million years would I have imagined this to be the outcome."
The outcome left many in shock and disbelief including Raul's uncle Carlos Tobias. He last saw the child Tuesday.
"One thing we know is he is in a better place now. He is in heaven. The Bible says let the children come to me," Tobias said.
There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd as a large number of people turned out to remember Raul. Kaye Britt was among the attendees and brought her own candle to the vigil.
Kay Britt is one of the first to show up for 4-year-old Raul Gonzalez Johnson's vigil. She brought her own candle tonight and tells me it will help light his way to heaven. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/rZ6AzWc9Jj— Akilah Davis (@DavisABC11) January 29, 2018
"This candle is to light up his way. Trying to light his way to heaven. He's in heaven," Britt said. "It is so short and this proves it. He didn't get a chance at life."
A visitation for the 4-year-old will be held Tuesday evening at the McDougald Funeral home. Raul will be laid to rest Wednesday.