Sunday mass at Good Shepherd Anglican Church began with a moment of silence for a young boy found dead on the church property Friday.
“It’s so sad — my heart was broken,” said parishioner Pauline Mclean. “I have children, grandchildren — it’s a sad situation.”
Dozens of people have been stopping by the church all weekend long to leave flowers and toys for the little boy, who police estimate was about 20 months old.
“I have a son that’s just a little younger than the child that was found, and it’s just heartbreaking how the child was left here helplessly,” said Michael MacIsaac as he left toys at the growing memorial. “It just hurts inside. I just hope justice is served.”
Cristian Ramirez was also moved to bring flowers. The father of two drove from Sherwood Park.
“It’s good to see the empathy people show in these situations, if it’s just to bring a toy or a flower. It’s just the meaning of the act that shows your support,” Ramirez said.
Police arrested two people in relation to the toddler’s death on Saturday. A 26-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman have been taken into custody and police say charges are pending against both individuals, as they work to determine the exact relationship between the pair and the young boy.
The toddler has yet to be identified.
Investigators believe the boy was left in the area of 155 Avenue and Castledowns Road on Tuesday between 10:51 and 11:51 a.m.
The boy’s body was discovered next to Good Shepherd Anglican Church Friday afternoon.
Police have referred to the death as “suspicious.”
“If the family needs help from our church, we will certainly give it to them,” said parishioner Nick Taylor.
Church officials said a vigil for the toddler is being planned for later this week. Details are expected on Monday.
An autopsy has also been scheduled for Monday morning.
with files from Shallima Maharaj and Julia Wong