4 Year Old Alex Mercado Remembered

FRESNO, Calif. The parents of four-year-old Alex Mercado were surrounded by hundreds of mourners Sunday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Mendota.

"And I think they're enjoying the fact that so many people came out to support them. It's just a time when they're all crying, they're all mourning. At the same time, in a sense they're celebrating Alex and his short life," said family friend Matt Flood.

Alex's family wore pins with his picture to Sunday's memorial service. They were a tribute to the little boy, who went missing more than a week ago.

A day after he disappeared, Alex's body was found in the clothes dryer at his next-door neighbor's house. The 14-year-old boy, who lived there, Raul Castro, is being charged as an adult for first-degree murder.

Investigators say Castro lured Alex into his home, before molesting him and then drowning him in the bath tub.

"He was like a playful little boy. I don't know why that kid did it to him. It's sad," said Alex's Cousin Jose Betancourt.

Sunday night's service is one of two being held for the little boy. And while family and friends say it symbolizes the beginning of the healing process, Mendota's Mayor, Robert Silva, says the circumstances surrounding Alex's death will make it more difficult for the community to move forward.

"It's a terrible thing because both families are well known in the community, so it's an uneasy feeling among the community members, you know where trying to get over this, but yet we still have a lot to go with this other young man that's being accused of the crime."

This is one of two services for Alex because his parents attended separate churches. Alex's father is catholic.

Monday's service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Kerman where his mother attends. It will be followed by a burial at Fresno Memorial Gardens.

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