An eight-month-old boy’s maternal relatives thanked the community and law enforcement during a vigil for him hours after his body was recovered on Friday.
“We are honoured in knowing that baby King has touched so many lives, and that he has become San Antonio’s baby,” his cousin Adriana Gomez said to hundreds of people who gathered to pray that the infant is at peace.
Last Chance Ministries pastor Jimmy Robles had initially planned that Friday’s prayer service at Monterrey Park on the West Side be one of hope that King Jay Davila, who was reported abducted on Jan. 4, would be found alive and returned to his family.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus’ announcement Friday that the boy was found dead changed the tone of the service.
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Gomez was among family members who addressed mourners on the cool, rainy Friday evening.
“I know that the silence has sparked a lot of confusion about baby King Jay’s family not loving him,” she said, fighting back tears.
King Jay’s grandparents on his mother’s side and his older siblings adored him, Gomez said. They enjoyed his smile which she said could “light up a room.”
“We’re part of the percentage that loved him. We really do love him,” Gomez said.
She also refuted any previous criticisms made by King Jay’s mother, Jasmine Gonzales, who at one point had been upset that police were investigating King Jay’s father, Christopher Davila, and his family.
“We know and we are confident that the authorities are working tirelessly in solving this tragedy,” Gomez said crying. “I want to thank them for their efforts, as well as the community, for loving baby King since the beginning of all of this.”
On Jan. 4, Davila told police that his son was in a Dodge Dart that was seen on security camera footage being taken by a woman moments after he went into a West Side gas station.
Police later determined that his cousin, Angie Torres, 34, had taken the car and abandoned it near Rodriguez Park with the help of Davila’s mother, Beatrice Sampayo Davila, 65, police said.
McManus said the entire stunt was staged to distract police from finding King Jay’s body and any evidence of his demise.
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As of Friday, Davila was in jail with bail set at $1.25 million for charges including injury to a child, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Torres and Beatrice Davila also face charges of tampering with evidence in the case.
After his arrest Thursday, Davila told investigators where to find King Jay’s body. Police recovered the boy’s body wrapped in a blanket and buried in a black backpack in a grassy area just south of the intersection of Castle Lance and Castle Prince.
Davila claims that King Jay died hours after a car seat fell from the bed while he was inside it on Jan. 3, hitting the floor with his face. Davila said King Jay may have hit his head on a dresser during the fall, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.
He admitted to detectives that he should have sought medical attention, but that he panicked as he tried to keep King Jay awake because he was nodding off after the fall, the affidavit said. Davila told police that when he checked on King Jay a few hours later, he was dead.
“It breaks my heart to know that we will no longer be able to love on him,” Gomez said. “But I take comfort in knowing that he’s in God’s hands now … and knowing that no one will ever be able to harm him again.”
Robles said that Davila may have panicked because of his criminal past.
“Sometimes you’re afraid that they won’t believe you,” Robles said.
He urged anyone who accidentally injures their child to call 911 and ask for help, even if they have a criminal record.
“Like the Bible says, the truth shall set you free.”
Robles also warned of donating and supporting potentially fraudulent GoFundMe accounts in King Jay’s name, saying that the church is working to help the family.
He also asked the public to not “bash the family” online, noting that the family has received a lot of hate-filled messages via social media.
“We have some good families, some people that loved King Jay,” Robles said. “We don’t have time for that. Right now is the time to continue to pray.”