NEWARK, N.J. –A candlelight vigil was held at Bradley Court Houses after a 8-year-old boy was found unconscious in his family's third floor apartment Sunday afternoon.
Authorities are now investigating his death as "suspicious," Essex County Prosecutors' Office confirmed.
They gathered in front of 78 North Munn Ave. The gathering included friends, neighbors and even a few relatives of the 8-year-old boy neighbors called "my Mike."
Many talked about a sweet, quiet, handsome little boy who often complained that that there wasn't enough food for everyone in his family of five and that he often went to bed hungry.
Neighbors said they often heard shouting and physical fights from behind closed doors.
One neighbor said she saw signs that the stepfather may have physically abused his wife.
"She would come around with black eyes," the neighbor, who did not want her name used, said. "And you just knew she was getting abused, but I never knew him to abuse the kids, but you could hear it."
Detectives were inside the apartment conducting their investigation. The Essex County Prosecutors' Office is waiting for the autopsy report from the medical examiner:
"We are in emergency status in Newark," Donna Jackson, a community activist, said. "We need help ASAP."
The community activist said this was the third death of a child under suspicious circumstances in a week in Newark and Donna Jackson blames cutbacks in Support programs like the Family Success Center at Bradley Court for so many families in crisis.
The Essex County prosecutor's officer could not confirm if the Division of Youth and Family Services was investigating the family.