Vigil held for 8-year-old boy found dead in refrigerator

By Beau Ebenezer

August 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 10:36 PM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- Family and friends mourned the death of a local 8-year-old boy Thursday night with a vigil.

Marquail Johnson, 8, was remembered by family and friends as they walked from his Western Avenue home to where his body was found Thursday morning in a nearby abandoned refrigerator.

The coroner said Marquail likely died of suffocation, although there is no telling how long he was inside the appliance.

Family members said they remember him always having a smile.

They also said he was slightly autistic, but had never wandered away from their home before.

"Everyday when I would see him, he was a happy child," said family friend, Felicia King. "He was a happy child. He was always friendly with everybody. He greeted everybody."

"He was sweet, loving, smiling always, and laughing always," said Marquail's aunt, Amy Kennedy. "Marquail was a good boy, and he will be missed."

A toxicology test has been ordered and police are continuing to investigate how Marquail ended up in the refrigerator.

Anyone with information is asked to call Peoria Police or Crimestoppers at (309) 673-9000.