LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Amari Nicholson’s family held a news conference Monday afternoon to thank the community for the support it has shown since the boy’s disappearance.
There has been a lot of grief and outrage since the toddler’s body was found at the Emerald Suites. Family, friends and community members came together in front of the growing memorial outside the site.
Around 50 people released white and blue balloons in Amari’s honor. Local organizations Nevada Child Seekers and Bikers Against Child Abuse supported the family. Many wore shirts with Amari’s face and the message “fly high.”
Family members say they want Amari to know he was loved, and they will never forget him.
“Even though we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted, we hope that this raised awareness of how important children are and how important it is that you protect your children,” said Yolanda Everett, Amari’s aunt.
Zak Hayes-Ramos, another one of the toddler’s aunts, said, “We want to thank Las Vegas, oh my, God. Even though there was not an Amber Alert, this community was the alert. This community lit a light that shined all over the United States.”
Terrell Rhodes, the now ex-boyfriend of Amari’s mother, is accused of killing the toddler this month. For days, he claimed the child was taken by an unknown family member.
Officials say the 27-year-old admitted to beating the boy to death on May 5 after the child urinated on himself.
Rhodes is being held at the Clark County Detention Center with no bail. His arraignment is set for June 1.
Aside from murder charges, Rhodes faces four new charges of resisting a public officer with a firearm and four charges of assault on a protected person with a deadly weapon.
The family continues to seek justice for the child’s murder. They say there are no set funeral arrangements at this time.
While Amari’s father’s side of the family was at the memorial, the toddler’s mother and her family were not present.
WATCH: The I-Team’s Vanessa Murphy spoke with Amari’s mother last week. You can watch the full interview below.