FORTY FORT — As the last few lanterns filled with hot air and floated aloft a child’s song hushed the crowd at the vigil Saturday for a slain toddler.
A flickering candle illuminated the face of 4-year-old Apalonia Passetti as she sang “Amazing Grace” for the little girl she did not know. The crowd accompanied her for a verse.
Passetti came to the park with her parents, Tracey and Bob, and joined the group of more than 100 moved by the death of Camryn Lee Shultz on Oct. 27. Two days short of her second birthday, Shultz’s father, Nicholas, shot and killed her before killing himself in a murder-suicide at their house on Wesley Street.
Tracey Passetti said it was nothing new for her daughter to break into a song and she had an idea she would do so at the vigil.
“She wanted to sing it for the little girl and her mom,” Passetti said. “She called her Forty Fort’s little angel.”
Jessica Shultz hugged the young singer who approached her near the small pavilion in the Wyoming Avenue Park.
Shultz thanked the crowd of friends and strangers for their support, saying “my daughter was my entire world.”
“I just need strength and you guys can give me that,” Shultz said.
The vigil was an example of a community in action, said Rev. William Lukesh, pastor of The Forty Fort Presbyterian Church.
“This is a strong community where we care for one another,” he said during a brief address at the start of the 30-minute vigil. ” We lift one another up.”
He told the gathering that the biblical King David lost a son and said, ” ‘The child will not come to me, but I will go to him. I will go to her.’ I trust that this will be our hope. Amen.”
The vigil drew Sheryl Liguori-Blink who lit a lantern that needed some assistance to become airborne.
She said she did not know the family, but felt a connection.
“Anyone who has children can relate. It’s their worst nightmare,” said the mother of five.
She learned of the deaths last Sunday from reading her Facebook account, she said.
“Every since then the community has pulled together,” Liguori-Blink said.