SAN ANTONIO — A memorial was held Saturday for James Chairez, the baby boy who was last seen alive months ago and who remains this week were confirmed to have been found by authorities. His mother, D'Lanny Chairez, remains in jail facing criminal charges in the death of the young boy.
"There's no words to say how we're coping, (what) we're dealing with, what we have to deal with. We're taking it in as it comes," said Baby James's great-aunt, Mariesol Gomez, who is both grieving and wanting to know how they got here. "Why would she do this? How could she do this? James didn't even begin his life yet. He was just starting."
Photos of the young boy from happier days adorned tables at the memorial. At the front, a large banner reading "In Loving Memory" and teddy bears greeted family, friends and community members who came out in support of Baby James and his family.
Gomez said the day wouldn't be enough to offer closure.
"I think about the relationship that they had together," she said, referring to the infant and his detained mother. "I don't understand how a switch could be flipped that quick."
"When I walked into that trailer, when I saw what they were subject to living to, the first thing that went through my head was, 'Is this some kind of mental break?'" said Jasmine Anderson, executive director of KJ's Angels.
She says the mental health of James's mother, who now faces criminal charges, could have played a factor in what ultimately happened.
"D'Lanny shut everybody out. She shut her family out and pretended that everything was OK. And we can't do that as a society," Anderson said. "We can't do that. We have to accept our help."
But this day was all about remembering Baby James.
"His happiness, their love, the amount of love (that) not just myself, but the rest of my family have for him," Gomez said.
She added she hopes the young boy's story helps other families.
"I hope that this story touches people to be able to reach out to their own family, you know, and at least ask them the question here. 'How are you doing? Like, are you really OK?'"