Warm embraces were the only things keeping together those missing Kaelan Paton. The 16-year-old went missing Tuesday after jumping into the rough waters of the Housatonic River.
"Hug your kids for me, for my husband, for our family. We're missing a lovable child, a lovable young man," said Catherine Palmer Paton, Kaelan's mother.
A day after his disappearance, family and friends, coming to terms with the loss, gathered around a bonfire to share their memories of Kaelan.
"Kaelan was as fine a son as anyone could have, and he was so loved by everyone. He was one of the kindest gentlest people you ever want to meet," said David Paton, Kaelan's father.
Kaelan's friends created a Facebook group and posted a Youtube video to remind everyone of the young man they lost.
"Just keeping his memory alive, letting him live on in a positive way in their hearts, that will continue his legacy," said Palmer Paton.
State police suspended the search for Kaelan because the river was still too rough to send in divers. That didn't stop volunteers from searching the river via boat, but Kaelan was nowhere to be found.
"I'm just heartsick. I wish that we could find him. I wish this nightmare would go away," said Mary Palmer, Kaelan's aunt.
But even with all their heartache, Kaelan's family is hoping their experience will prompt parents to ask their kids what they are doing and who they are with at all times.
"If we can learn from this, that's the silver lining," said Palmer Paton.