APPLE VALLEY (CBSLA)  — An Apple Valley community came together Saturday in tribute of a 6-year-old boy whose name first came to public attention after he was reported missing.

Authorities now say Duke Flores was murdered by his mother and her twin sister.

His body hasn’t been found.

CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Cristy Fajardo attended the special tribute held in the boy’s honor. The crowd, she said, was filled with people the boy never knew.

It was cold and blustery in Apple Valley’s Civic Center Park but that didn’t stop people from showing up.

“Help him be laid to rest properly,” said Shelby Collins, “also; I ask you that you grow hearts enough that know where he’s at.”

There were prayers and candles for the little boy that no one at the gathering knew. But even if they didn’t know him personally, many told Fajardo the idea of the child being murdered still brings them to tears.

(credit: CBS)

Collins didn’t know the boy,  “But I know he was probably an amazing child that never had the chance to  shine.”

“I’m just so tired of them doing this to the children,” said Robert Collins, ” I’ve got four of my own and a whole pack of grand kids  and I can’t fathom how evil somebody has to be to either kidnap, or murder or harm a child.”

Flores hasn’t been seen since mid-April

Investigators won’t say how they know the boy — who had autism — is dead but they  have charged his mother and her twin sister with his murder.

Deputies believe his body was put into the trash, a dumpster whose contents were later hauled to a landfill in Victorville. Now, weeks later they are still searching through tons of refuse for his remains

“I came here because I have a son of my own,” said another woman at the tribute, “And it hurts seeing another child in this community die, and just be dumped, like they were nothing — especially an autístic child.”

Total strangers are united in their grief. And many people said they hope Duke will get the burial he deserves. They want to send the message he was loved — even if his mother, allegedly,  didn’t love him enough

During the tribute and vigil, ribbons were also handed out to raise awareness about autism.

The vigil was organized by the group “Remembering Duke Flores” and they said they will continue to update the public and offer information about the case and future vigils.

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