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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Thousands gathered online, and a small group met in person on Friday to honor the life of Gannon Stauch, an 11-year-old El Paso County boy killed earlier this year. 

Gannon was reported missing from his home just outside Colorado Springs in January. His disappearance quickly captured national attention.

On March 2, Gannon’s stepmother, Letecia Stauch, was arrested on murder charges in connection with his death. Gannon’s remains were found in Florida later that month.

“I come before you today a broken man celebrating the life of my precious, premature and prepossessing son,” Gannon’s father Al Stauch said. 

Gannon’s family invited a small group of loved ones and community members who aided in his search to the memorial hosted by Restoration Church in Fountain. 

FOX31’s Nicole Fierro was among the community members present.

The public could also join in live online, with the service streamed on social media and Restoration Church’s website.

The emotional service started with several musical performances. 

A young boy named Tristen Biber performed a piece on the piano he created called “Gannon’s Song.”

“He came into this world unexpectedly and left unexpectedly, touching many lives along,” Gannon’s grandmother Deborah Pearce said, adding, “His love was palpable and dynamic.”

Four people shared emotional eulogies explaining the impact Gannon had on their lives: Gannon’s grandmother Deborah Pearce, his father Al Stauch, his elementary teacher Kaitlin Collar and his Royal Rangers Commander Chris Lancaster.

“He was full of energy, he was always smiling, his smile would light up the room,” Lancaster, who met Gannon through youth ministries, said. “It’s like it’s a dream, like it’s not real. We’re going to wake up and he’s going to be here.” 

Every person who spoke talked about how much love Gannon had for his younger sister Laina Stauch and the pride he took in protecting her.

Al shared a letter to Laina in his eulogy addressing the heartache she may feel 10, 20 and 30 years from now after losing her big brother.

“Sometimes I have woken up in the middle of the day on the floor, after crying out to God for my baby boy or for just a moment of relief from all of the other pains that have surfaced after the unbearable tragedy,” Al said. 

Al finished his eulogy by saying he wished his little angel was not in Heaven, but here with him.