ROCKFORD (WTVO) -- The powerful emotion of the murder of an 8-year-old boy has shaken the Stateline to its core.
"There's no pain like losing a child. There just isn't." said Kathryn Ayala, who lost her 6-year-old daughter in a car accident 15 years ago.
The outpouring of support for the family of Thomas Kossow overflowed with grief, as hundreds attended two vigils in Rockford on Thursday night to honor the 8-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered by his mother Jody Kossow, 39, outside the family's home on Tuesday night. She's being held in custody on $2 millon bond and facing two first-degree murder charges. She's scheduled to appear next in court on October 10th.
"Honestly I wanna cry. I mean seeing this. It's mind blowing. It is." said Chad Rogers. He spoke of his own tragic loss as a motivation to help the family's father Michael Kossow, a co-worker of his at Lube Pros. Rogers organized a vigil outside of the shop where they work.
"I lost my son two years ago. I know the pain of losing a child, it's not easy. It's really hard." Rogers said.
"People we don't know are holding fundraisers to help us pay for memorial expenses and rebuilding the families life," said Misty Halterman-Ahrens, the family spokesperson and a cousin of Thomas's.
She struggled to thank the community reading a prepared statement on Thursday. With the neighborhood still in shock. Ayala knows the grief all too well.
"You don't ever get over it." said Ayala. "It gets easier, day by day. But you never get over it."
"We will lovingly lay Thomas to rest with his Lightning McQueen pillow and blanket" Halterman-Ahrens said, pausing to collect herself. "...that he slept with every night.
"We love you, Thomas."
Statement from the family of Thomas Kossow....
“Thank you for being here today. On behalf of our families, we appreciate the community’s support.
When Thomas walked into a room, it lit up with his bright smile. He was actually kind of shy, but when he was around other kids in the neighborhood, he was very outgoing.
When he was younger, we used to call him “Thomas the Train.” With his red hair and blue eyes, some of his teachers liked to call him “Howdy Doody.”
Thomas enjoyed school and loved race cars, matchbox cards, and Lightning McQueen.
Thomas and his dad were best friends and were constantly by each other’s side. They were a regular family leading regular lives.
We support Thomas’ father, brothers and sisters as they struggle to cope with what has happened.
We are very grateful for the community’s outpouring of support. Friends have set up a website for donations and an account at Associated Bank. People we don’t even know are holding fundraisers to help us pay for memorial expenses and rebuild the family’s lives.
As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family. Some of us are still too much in shock to truly process what has happened. Tomorrow will be a hard day.
Our family won’t be speaking with the media tomorrow. We’re speaking to you today with the respectful request to let us grieve in peace tomorrow for our lost cousin, son, grandson, brother, friend and classmate…as we send him on angel wings up to heaven.
We will lovingly lay Thomas to rest with his Lightning McQueen pillow and blanket that he slept with every night. We love you, Thomas."
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.