Balloon Release Honors Drowning Victims

by Kelly Choate on June 5, 2012 at 7:21 am

One year after a tragedy, a family is still looking for closure.

"We need everybody’s prayers, so we can find out what really happened to my grandson," said Anthony Tullius’s grandmother Susan Miller.

No one will ever know for sure what happened that day.  Three-year-old Ayden Cecil and two-year-old Anthony Tullius disappeared from their campsite here at Ellis Dam.  Ayden’s body was found in the Muskingum River shortly after the search began, but Anthony has never been found.

"My dad called me, and I can just remember dropping the phone as I was crying," said Tullius’s aunt Talya Insley.  "It still seems surreal like it never happened."

"We were all here for the search, and it brings back a lot of memories," said Miller.  "It’s a scary place."

Today was a chance for loved ones to come together and pray.  Dozens of balloons floated into the sky, a powerful symbol that the boys are in a better place.

"That was a beautiful feeling to write our thoughts and prayers on the balloons," said Miller.  "It was wonderful."

That bittersweet moment couldn’t hide what’s under the surface.  The mother of the two boys, Kasey Klein, and her husband Richard, were there when Ayden and Anthony went missing.  Now they’re spending 12 years behind bars after they were found guilty of manslaughter and endangering children back in February.

"I think 12 years is a pretty good punishment," said Insley.  "I believe it was fair."

"The bottom line is they should never have taken those little boys camping in a place like this," said Miller.  "We hope that this tragedy never happens again to another child."