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'We will not fail another child' | Community calls for changes after parents charged with boy's murder

Records show the 12-year-old boy's own grandmother reported abuse after she noticed bruises on him.

MYAKKA CITY, Fla. — Eduardo Posso died hundreds of miles away from a worship center in Myakka City, but that’s where loved ones and friends held a vigil Sunday.

News of his passing sent shockwaves through the small community. The 12-year-old boy and his parents lived there up until late last year.

RELATED: Circus promoters accused of holding boy in bathtub with shackles and a shock collar before he died

“Eduardo is at peace,” Pastor Lynn Howell assured the congregation. “He's at home.”

Now, Posso’s dad and stepmother are in an Indiana jail, charged with his murder. The couple is accused of chaining him up in a motel bathroom and starving him to death while on the road promoting a circus.

“I've shed my share of tears in the past week,” Posso’s fifth-grade teacher, Joe Szewczyk, said at the vigil.

Szewczyk is remembering the bright little boy who loved playing soccer and cooking, but he's also one of many who had worried about the boy's well-being.

“We all have thought, is there something I missed? Is there something I could've done, should've done?” he said.

Records show the boy's own grandmother reported abuse after she noticed bruises on him. Manatee County deputies investigated but found no evidence.

RELATED: Manatee deputies got a report of child abuse before investigators say a boy was shackled and died

“That was the pain that we had to deal with: That we let him down, that we didn't follow through,” Howell explained.

Sunday's vigil was as much a celebration of the boy's life as it was a call to action to make sure something like this never happens again. The candle lighting served as a promise that family and friends will fight, so no other child falls through the cracks.

“We will not fail another child,” Howell said. “We will not let another one slip through our fingers.”

Posso's grandmother and other family members were at the vigil as well, but they're still too upset to talk about it. The pastor is asking people to call their state lawmakers to change the law to further investigate after multiple reports of abuse.

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