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Friends hold Christmas tree lighting to honor 2-year-old

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Both friends and complete strangers gathered Saturday evening to hold a Christmas tree lighting in honor of 2-year-old Lonzie Barton. 

Gathered with lights and ornaments, people decorated this tree for Lonzie Barton. Pictures of the missing two year old scrolled through on a frame for people to stop and look at as they hung ornaments. The organizer said the reason for the event was simple.

"Until Lonzie is found, we have to keep the spirit alive," Lorne Williams, with Northeast Florida Search and Rescue, said. "We want to make sure we bring him home to the people that do love him and make sure that he has a proper burial or he's back in the hands of his father."

Williams said that they are hopeful that Lonzie will be found soon, whether it’s by law enforcement or by someone else, like the many who have and continue to search for the toddler since he disappeared in late July.

The Christmas tree was set up at Baker Skinner Park off Powers Avenue, where police set up a command center for their search in the days following Lonzie’s disappearance. The tree was decorated in a way Williams said is designed to honor the Lonzie.

"With the blue lights; we wanted to bring that blue eyes out for everyone. That way we can show everyone that his spirit is there," Williams said.

Many of the people Saturday said they were still holding out hope that Lonzie is still alive, and with the turnout they had , they said they are glad to see that many who searched in the initial days are still supporting the missing toddler.