Vigil remembers abuse victim

Published 11:35 pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

Family members and friends of 2-year-old Aydin Mason Toler Walls, who died last week in West Virginia, light candles in his memory at Family Harvest Church on Tuesday.

About 25 people gathered at a Suffolk church Tuesday night to remember a faraway relative who died last week after suspected child abuse.

Aydin Mason Toler Walls, who would have celebrated his third birthday Nov. 13, died Oct. 16 in Logan County, W.Va., after police say his mother’s boyfriend slammed the boy into a door frame, causing severe head injuries.

The suspect, Nicolas Turkale, has been charged with murder.

Email newsletter signup

A portion of the family that lives in Virginia wanted to organize a candlelight vigil to honor Aydin and call attention to the problem of child abuse. The vigil was held at Harvest Family Church on Manning Road, where some family members attend.

Randy Bryant, who is married to Aydin’s great-great-aunt, said answers have eluded him in the past week.


“I cannot imagine losing my child,” Bryant said during remarks at the service. “Aydin was a happy boy that always had a smile on his face.”

Family members said Aydin loved to play outside and enjoyed characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse. A slideshow featured photos of Aydin fishing, playing in a field, riding a horse, wearing sunglasses comically too big for his face and showing off a West Virginia University Mountaineers T-shirt.

Win Anderson, youth pastor at Harvest Family Church, offered words of comfort to the family.

“Our hearts are broken, and we’re asking questions,” he said. “The chief question is, How did this happen? Why did this happen?”

Anderson urged the family to resist listening to well-meaning people who say it is “God’s will.”

“The God we worship does not will the death of a child or the pain of the parents,” Anderson said. “It is painful, and I believe it is also painful to God, who created the world intending for it to be perfect.”

Bryant said he will remember Aydin’s life when he thinks about how precious life is.

“It reminds us God has promises for us, and we are to grab hold of those promises,” he said. “God’s promises are fulfilled for little Aydin. He is rejoicing, he is happy, he is playing, and he’s saying to us, ‘I can’t wait for you to get here.’”

Helen Dotson, Aydin’s great-grandmother, said Aydin was always a “real active little boy.”

“He was always smiling and laughing,” she said.

Family at the service called for others to take a stand against child abuse.

“Something has to be done,” said Kim Watkins, Aydin’s cousin. “There’s no reason kids like Aydin are getting hurt. We’re supposed to be protecting them from the monsters in the closet.”

To report suspected child abuse in Suffolk, call 514-7458 for Child Protective Services or 1-800-552-7096 for the statewide hotline.