HOUMA, La. (WGNO)— Dozens gathered Friday night in memory of 2-year-old Ezekiel Harry, who was found dead in a garbage can earlier this week. Though the unthinkable death rocked the Terrebonne Parish community, the immense love for the boy was apparent.

Those who knew Ezekiel say he was a lively little boy who loved to dance, go to church, and spend time with his family.

“He was the life of the party man, he was, that was our boy,” said Ivy Guidry, Ezekiel’s stepmother.

“He was very playful, like fiesty,” added grandmother Cynthia Harry. “He’s friendly, he liked to play, playful, dancing.”

WGNO was told Ezekiel’s father was too distraught to attend the vigil. We also learned that the family was scheduled to go to court on Friday with hopes of getting full custody of the child.

“He didn’t deserve it,” Guidry said.

On a day that could have changed the child’s life, community members instead packed a Terrebonne Parish courthouse, leading with prayer and calls for unity.

“I began to meditate on his name, “Ezekiel”. I discovered that his name literally means ‘God strengthens,’” said Bishop Herbert K. Andrew with Beacon Light Church of Houma.

On Tuesday, Ezekiel was found dead inside a duffel bag that was thrown in a garbage can. Just hours before his death, his mother, Maya Jones, had reported him missing. Now, she and her boyfriend Jermaine Robinson face first-degree murder charges in connection to the toddler’s death.

Just hours before the vigil started, the Houma Police Department announced that Ezekiel had died of severe head trauma. State Senator Mike Fesi was at the vigil as well, pledging to pursue “Ezekiel’s Law” to protect other kids from child abuse.

“In the state of Louisiana last year, we had 55 children die in this situation, from the statistics I got. Already this year, in 6 months, half of the year, we’re at 33, which is a 23 percent increase,” Fesi (R-Houma) told WGNO.

Though Ezekiel only spent two short years on this earth, those who loved him will never forget him and will continue to fight until justice is served.