Alex Mercado's memorial birthday party

FRESNO, Calif.

Friends and family showed up to one of his favorite places to honor the dimple-faced boy with a love for Spiderman.

Alex's mother, Mindy Mercado said, "From one day to the next my life changed."

It'll be two years - this Halloween - since the body of then 4-year-old Alex Mercado was found stuffed inside a dryer at his neighbor's home. And his mother says dealing with her son's death isn't getting any easier.

"It's still so hard for me to say goodbye to Alex," said Mindy. "That's why doing these things help me because other than this I think I'd be home in my bed crying. I don't think I'd be the person I am today."

She held a birthday party in one of Alex's favorite locations - Mendota's Rojas Pierce Park.

"He wanted to be here everyday," said Mindy. "He rode his bikes here, played on the swings and on the slides and I'm so glad for the memories that I have."

So are his friends and family - who wrote personal messages to the little boy on balloons in his favorite color. And cut a cake as if he were here.

Mercedes Martinez said, "In the morning I think of Alex and tears come out. But they're happy tears now. Happy because I had him. He was mine and he'll always be mine."

Mercedes Martinez was Alex's preschool teacher two years in a row. She says in her 30 plus years at Mendota Head Start - she's never experienced anything like this. And has never had a tighter bond with one of her students.

"The first year he didn't want no part of me," said Martinez. "He wanted to go home with mama. He hid for most of the time, but I stayed with him and said 'Alex when you want to come out, you come out.' He was a big part of me and I was a big part of him."

Action News asked, "If he were here today, what would you say to him? What would you do?"

Mindy replied, "Hug him, kiss him and sing happy birthday to him... Yes, honey you're six. You're a big boy now."

A big boy - who will forever be in their hearts.

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