Family, friends, and students gathered at a Harlem middle school Tuesday night to hold a vigil for an 11-year-old Bronx boy who went missing earlier this month and whose body was tragically found about a week later in the Hudson River.
The mourners came together to honor the life of Alfa Barrie, a young boy who went missing on May 12 and whose body was recovered in the Hudson River at West 102nd Street on May 20. Alfa was one of two boys to go missing, with his friend Garrett Warren, 13, also reported missing at the time. Garrett, from Harlem, was found dead in the Harlem River on the East Side of Manhattan on May 18.
The emotional remembrance of Alfa was held at the Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School and was organized by the school and family members. Family, friends, and students held a private observance inside the school located at 207 West 133rd St. before redirecting to a public vigil in the grounds outside.
Alfa’s uncle Ahmadou Diallo thanked the community for its support but said he is still searching for answers regarding exactly how his nephew ended up in the water.
“The medical examiner is still doing the autopsy. We want all the questions answered, how Alfa lost his life. That is the question we want answered, how did it happen? We want clarity and closure,” Diallo said.
Alfa’s older sister, Fatima Diallo, was overcome with emotion, and thanked the NYPD for locating her brother’s body but stressed that she is heartbroken.
“I just want to thank the community, the school, the detectives for helping us find my brother. This is not what I expected the outcome to be because I was certain that he was going to come home alive, but I guess he is destined for something else so now he is an angel,” Fatima Diallo said, choking up.
Police believe that Alfa and Garrett were together while they were missing, noting that the pair had been seen on 145th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem the night of May 12. Authorities believe that they may have later gained access to the Harlem River through a hole in the fence, before falling in. The boys, according to published reports, had been spotted playing together near the water.
Students and staff also shared memories of Alfa and wept in each other’s arms. A photo of Alfa was centered amidst a circle of candles.
The vigil concluded with the young mourners yelling into the sky “We love you!” before signing a photo of their lost classmate.