SAN FERNANDO, Calif. - Thousands of people turned up for a vigil in San Fernando to honor Elias Rodriguez, the 14-year-old who drowned in the Los Angeles River last month.
Eli was missing for more than a week before his body was found on an island in the river near Los Feliz.
The day he went missing, Feb. 17, he was walking to his grandmother's home after school in San Fernando during a day of heavy rain. His route included crossing the Pacoima Wash.
Before he was found, community members, police and FBI joined in a massive search of the area, combing through rivers and washes for any sign of him. A volunteer finally found his body 18 miles down river more than a week later and the coroner confirmed his identity on Tuesday, ruling his death an accidental drowning.
San Fernando vigil honors Eli Rodriguez, 14-year-old drowning victim
The vigil to honor Eli and show support for his family started at his school, the Cesar Chavez Learning Academies in San Fernando. Attendees then walked along a lighted path to a spot on Glenoaks Boulevard above the Pacoima Wash, where a memorial was set up. His family and friends dropped white flowers into the wash at the end of the candlelight vigil.
A funeral mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Didacus Church in Sylmar and burial will follow at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to support Eli's family.