Candlelight vigil held in honor of slain five-year-old boy
The father has been charged in the death of his son
FARMINGTON — More than 50 people gathered at a candlelight vigil Thursday night to help bring healing to the family of five-year-old Azarius Lamotte — as well as the community — after the boy was allegedly killed by his father earlier this week.
Fernando Azofeifa, 45, is accused of smothering Lamotte to death Sunday morning in a unit at the Coronado Apartments at 2600 N. Dustin Ave., according to court documents. He is charged with first-degree murder.
The event was held at an apartment complex on the 2800 block of North Dustin Avenue in Farmington and hosted by Grace Hill Church. It featured area pastors who spoke about the youth's death, shared scripture and lead the group in song.
Worship Pastor Stephen Mirabal said Grace Hill Church has been serving the apartments in that area for several years.
The event was held to let the residents of the area and Lamotte's family know that they are not alone, and that the community supports them.
"We wanted to share the love of Christ with the apartments," Mirabal said. "To let them know God is still near. God is still here, in the midst of difficult stuff."
Grace Hill Church Pastor Timothy Castillo started the program by leading those in attendance in a moment of silence.
Some childcare instructors from across San Juan County who remembered Lamotte fondly attended the event and spoke about the child.
Lamotte was enrolled at Kirtland Early Childhood Center, according to instructor Brenda Arthur.
She attended the vigil with Helen Weeks, who was wearing a black ribbon staff at the childcare center have been wearing this week.
Arthur described Lamotte's death as tragic and sad.
"We need to be here for each other," Arthur said. "We can't let something like this go without being respectful of the family and Azarius. It's been a difficult week."
Christina Begaye and Daryl Bekis, associate teachers at the San Juan College Child and Family Development Center, remember Lamotte starting childcare when he was around two-years-old.
Begaye described Lamotte as one of a kind and she would have playful arguments with him.
"He was really outspoken," Bekis said. "If he didn't like it, he would tell you."
Bekis added he formed a tight relationship with Lamotte and would always say hi when he saw the child and his mother out in public.
"He was always positive. He was never down or had any negativity," Bekis said. "He was always positive. That's why we always remembered him."
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arrest: Farmington man arrested in his child's murder