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Family, Community Remembers Afton Allison With Vigil

Afton Allison, 6, was a little boy with “sugar and grits,” who liked fire trucks and wanted to be a soldier like his step-father, Afton’s mother, Jessica Wrigley, said about her son during a candlelight vigil Monday night.

More than 50 people came out to Ross Park to honor and remember Afton during the vigil. He died Sunday night after succumbing to injuries police said were inflicted by his father, Anthony Blake Viles, 27.

“The saddest day of my life was the happiest day of someone else’s,” Wrigley said during the vigil. Doctors were able to transplant 14 of Afton’s organs to children in need. Wrigley said that was what her son would have wanted, and that he was the kind of boy who never liked to see anyone cry.

Wrigley, who lost another child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 8 years ago, said she is still figuring out how to cope with the loss.

“I haven’t even had a chance to walk away from it, to decompress and to look at it from a different aspect because of the nature of his death. And once everything has been put aside, then maybe I can find out how to walk away from it intact,” Wrigley said.

Her husband, Jared Wrigley, said he felt like Afton was his son. He said knowing that other children get to live because of Afton is comforting.

“In the way we did it, it’s easier to cope with it, because we decided — we donated his organs to save other children to better their lives, which we knew Afton would appreciate,” he said.

People from the community who didn’t even know Afton came out in support of the family. One woman said that the high number of child abuse cases in the area needs to stop. Earlier this month, local officials said they have seen a 26 percent increase in the number of forensic child interviews in the last three years.

Viles was held on felony charges for injury to a child on Monday, and Bannock County Prosecutor Mark Heideman said he would review the case and determine whether or not the charges would be changed on Tuesday morning. Viles was arrested last week and charged after admitting to striking Afton.

The Wrigleys lived with Afton in Washington until January, when his biological parents decided that Afton would live with Viles for a six month “trial” period, Wrigley said. Viles, who lives in Pocatello, had never met his son until that point. Wrigley said she did not know of anything in Viles’ behavior that would cause him to hurt Afton. She said she had not been in the same room with Viles since she was seven months pregnant with Afton.

She said she wants Viles charged to the fullest extent of the law.

The family is accepting donations in Afton’s name with the organ transplant charity organization,

Wrigley said she wanted to thank Misty Lucero, with whom Viles was in a relationship, for returning Afton’s belongings to her.

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