Loved ones remember 3-year-old boy who died in hot child care van

Image 1 of 2

Splashes of bright yellow outfits and matching roses lit up Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on Friday afternoon. Friends and family sported Raymond Pryer Junior's favorite color as dozens of people filed in for a public viewing of the toddler they called 'RJ.'

"Even though I don't know the baby, my heart is full because I have kids of my own," said Maybelle Clay.

Three-year-old 'RJ' died after he was left in a scorching daycare van for three-and-a-half hours. The van belonged to the Discovering Me Academy.

The boy's aunt, Roshanda Matthews, said the family is now determined to channel its sorrow into action. Relatives have started a foundation called The RJ Foundation for Kids to help promote child safety.

"RJ was the happiest baby," said Matthews. "I'm not even surprised by the love that's been shown to him at this time because RJ was full of love. And I know he's so happy right now with the outpouring of love that's been shown for his parents. This viewing is not only to honor his life, but it's also to bring awareness to the importance of child safety and to help prevent another tragic instance of this death."

Investigators said the temperature inside the van was 113 degrees when RJ was found unresponsive. Many people who attended the viewing criticized the bus driver and child care center chaperone for 'carelessness.'

"You should've checked that bus when the kids got off the bus," said family friend Angela Alexander. "A headcount off and a headcount coming on and the driver should've also went back and checked that bus before she closed that bus up."

"How do you even leave a baby in the van?," asked family friend Charsie Hamilton. "It's just sad. It's hot. They should've looked for that baby. They should not have left that baby in the van."

"To Kisha and the family, we're all praying for you," said Kay Hemphill. "Hope you make it through this. Stay strong, Kisha, stay strong."

No charges have been filed in the case, which remains under investigation. A grand jury will ultimately decide if criminal charges should be filed.

The three-year-old boy's father said the child's funeral service will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Life of Tabernacle Church on 9323 Hopper Road in Baton Rouge, La.