By Johnny Jackson
Edgar Rivera indulged in his younger brother, Alexandro's, playful antics, though the mood surrounding them was much more somber.
The boys' parents, Gilberto Rivera and Maria Nevarez, sat quietly near them in front of a makeshift memorial for their other son, Alexis, whom officials found dead late Monday, lying inside a sewage treatment system near their Ellenwood home.
Family members said Alexis' funeral services will be held Saturday, from 9 to 11a .m., at San Felipe de Jesus Catholic Mission, located at 925 Conley Road in Forest Park.
Relatives, friends and several strangers turned out in support of the family Thursday, during a candlelight vigil for the 5-year-old, whose body was found after a community-wide search at the Poole's Manor mobile home park.
"It brought everyone together," said Katie Saville, a neighbor and friend of the family. "On Monday, everyone that was out here stayed here for the family, even those that did not know him."
Alexis was reported missing at about 3:30 p.m., Monday, and his body was recovered late that evening, around 11:30 p.m.
Earnestine Flowers, who lives across the street from the family, aided in the hours-long search for Alexis, who authorities determined had died of an apparent, accidental drowning.
"Everybody pulled together," Flowers said. "The whole park pulled together."
Dozens of neighbors trickled into the roadside vigil service Thursday evening, giving their blessings, and offering support to the family.
"I heard about it on the news that night, but I wasn't sure who it could be," said Loretta Threatt, who gave her condolences to the grieving mother.
Threatt is a fifth-grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School. She and second-grade teacher Lasonya Bonner teach Alexis' older brothers, Edgar, 11, and Jonathan, 9.
"[Edgar] came by to visit the class," Threatt said. "It was medicine for them to see their classes today; [the students] have been very supportive. I allow them to talk about what happened, and the counselor has come by as well. In my 10 yeas of teaching, I've never gone through something like that."
An account to receive funds designated to the Alexis Rivera memorial fund is available at the First State Bank on Fairview Road in Ellenwood.