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Hope and healing vigil for infant killed by father

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friends and family in American Fork organized a Sunday evening candle light vigil to remember a 5-month-old boy who was murdered by his father.
“I think that hate is very contagious. If you’re around someone who is negative you become negative and love is just as contagious" -Amanda Pacas
AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friends and family in American Fork organized a Sunday evening candle light vigil to remember a 5-month-old boy who was murdered by his father. 

Several dozen people gathered near Amanda’s apartment to hold candles and leave gifts for Amanda’s family.  They remained quiet and still for about an hour to show their love for everyone involved in this tragedy. 

“I think that hate is very contagious.  If you’re around someone who is negative you become negative and love is just as contagious.  If we can all stay positive and show one another love it’s just going to spread.  It’s going to spread even faster than hate,” said Amanda Pacas who helped to organize the vigil.

American Fork police Sgt. Gregg Ludlow said 21-year-old Joshua Petersen shot his son Ryker in the head with a rifle.  He tried to turn the rifle on himself, but was stopped before he could pull the trigger.

Ryker leaves behind his mother Amanda Merrill-Pilling and two brothers who are seven and four.

Amanda was unable to attend the vigil because of her grieving, but many of her 13 siblings attended on her behalf.

“Amanda is so grateful for all the support she’s received friends and family we just ask that the support be also for the Petersen family as well,” said Milo Merrill who is Ryker’s uncle.

The Peterson’s are Joshua’s parents.  The Merrill family is trying to reach out to everyone who may be in pain in the hopes to promote healing at this difficult time, Milo said.

Ryker’s funeral is scheduled for April 10.




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