THIBODAUX, La (NBC33) — Dina Batiste has never met Jori Lirette, but she can relate with his mother, Jesslyn. "I had a son that was murdered down here last year," she explains. "I just had to come. I know what she's going through."
Batiste traveled to Jori's home from a neighboring town about 20 minutes away to make sure she paid her respects. "He was only seven years old. He didn't have to die like that," she says.
Many others had the same idea. "I said, let's go over there and bring some stuffed animals," says Sandra Ingram.
Jori's brutal murder has sent a shockwave of grief throughout Thibodaux and the neighboring communities. "Since the day I heard about it, I haven't slept," says Ingram. "He's on my mind everyday when I get up."
Strangers, people who have never met Jori, have come to say goodbye. "I don't know him, but he is human and no matter what color, race, he's still human," she says.
That's how his memorial continues to grow. Just a few days ago, people began leaving gifts in front of Jori's home. Since that first day, the tokens of love and support have begun piling up. Now, balloons, stuffed animals, candles, and flowers stretch from one end of his home to the other.
"This is where I'm from and if something like ths happened to my child, I'd want them to show the love that they're showing this child," says Kristie Adams.
The community will hold a vigil for Jori this Sunday at 7pm in Peltier Park.