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Community prays for boy's safe return

21-month-old Lonzie Barton missing since Friday morning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – As police continue their efforts to find Lonzie Barton, a community is praying for the 21-month-old's safe return.

Dozens gathered Saturday evening at Baker Skinner Park, just down the street from the apartment complex where Lonzie was last seen.

All in a circle, people of all ages held balloons and candles, bowed their heads and prayed from their hearts.

"I pray that this boy is safe," said Vivian Ruiz, a woman who attended the vigil. "And I know that miracles can happen."

With that belief in miracles, they push for answers in the case. As they held hands, many mothers, fathers, neighbors and friends thought about their own children.

Among them - Diena Thompson, whose daughter Somer Thompson was kidnapped and murdered several years ago. Thompson understands the importance of that support system.

"Everybody coming behind you and standing up; that's the hands that hold us people up," said Diena Thompson. "People may think I'm strong, but really, it's really the people behind me that make me strong."

For others, the chance to come together show just how strong the Jacksonville community is.

"It doesn't matter. Race, religion, none of those things matter when this happens," said Roger Delaney with the Justice Coaltion. "We all come together for a common purpose, and that's the good of the community."

Near the end, the group released balloons for hope, symbolizing the love the community feels for the little boy, and the need to see him home safe.


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