LAKELAND, Fla. — One week ago, the story of 6-year-old Adam Roach captured the attention of people across the Bay area, after the special needs boy disappeared from his home and was found hours later after walking into a retention pond behind his home.
Countless volunteers and emergency personnel assisted in the multi-hour search hoping for the best.
Friday night, friends, family and perfect strangers gathered to remember the young life lost one week ago.
“I definitely feel all the prayers,” said Brittany Roach, speaking publicly for the first time since the loss of her son.
“People just remembering my son and recognizing the special needs community, it makes me feel like I’m not alone.”
People from around Adam’s neighborhood and across Polk County gathered to show their support for the family dealing with unimaginable loss.
“It’s not always going to feel like this and I know it’s not going to be easy, but I do think everything happens for a reason,” said Roach.
Diagnosed with autism, Adam was born with a rare condition called 1P36 Chromosome Deletion Syndrome. At 6 years old, he had the developmental age of an 18-month-old.
“I always knew in the back of my mind I would have to give him back to God someday,” said Adam’s mother. I knew he wasn’t mine forever.”
Blue and green balloons representing Adam’s chromosome condition were released at sunset, followed by an emotional candlelight vigil.
“That means a lot. It’s not just another case they dealt with. They said they were going to work until they found Adam, and they did.”
Adam’s mom is calling her son’s time on Earth a gift from God, one taught her and now much of the community just how precious life can be.