BRADENTON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Dozens of loved ones came together at Myakka Family Worship Center late Sunday to remember the life of 12-year-old Eduardo Posso, who authorities say was abused and starved to death by his father and stepmother.
Many tried their best to remember the good times.
"I see that smile up there and I can laugh inside," former teacher Joe Szewczyk said. "Knowing what happened, I've shed my share of tears."
Authorities say Eduardo weighed just 50 pounds when he died last week in Indiana. Investigators say his father, Luis Posso, and stepmother, Dayana Flores, starved him death, restraining him in a bathtub with a K-9 shock collar.
"The family agency did fail this young man," a former neighbor said.
Five complaints between March 2017 and November 2018 were filed with Child Protective Services, detailing bruising on his body. Others say, at times, the boy appeared afraid and hungry, but all of the complaints were deemed unfounded.
"If Eduardo lived for any reason, he lived for this. To bring awareness to a system that is broken," Myakka Family Worship Center Pastor Lynn Howell said.
Eduardo was last seen by investigators with Child Protective Services in December 2018 when they took a photo of him smiling and seemingly happy, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Two days later his father pulled him out of school and the family moved out of state.
"Bad things happen to good people and I do know bad things happen to people because others make the choices they do," Howell said.
Loved ones say Eduardo was a talented chef who loved to cook scrambled eggs.
Posso and Flores are now facing murder charges as well as felony child neglect and confinement charges. They remain in the Monroe County Correctional Facility in Indiana and are being held without bond.