Sarbesh Gurung vigil
The white Toyota Highlander in which his body was found looks just so similar to his parents’ vehicle.
Perhaps that is what attracted 2-year-old Sarbesh Gurung’s eye.
Though it was not clear how the little boy got from his apartment to the sport utility vehicle down the street, the theory of mourners who gathered Wednesday night at a vigil beside the SUV was that he made the trip himself.
Sarbesh would have had to have left his second-story apartment, walked down a flight of stairs and down West Prairie Street a block or so. And then into the sport utility vehicle 12 parking spaces from the street. That is where the boy’s body was found Wednesday morning.
His mother called 911 within four minutes of realizing Sarbesh was missing Tuesday afternoon, police said.
For much of Wednesday, she was in bed and could not eat. She spent the morning at a hospital, consumed with anguish.
Sarbesh’s father had been holding up a bit better, said Giriraj Bhetwal, 34, a friend from their days as students at the University of North Texas. When the reality of calling funeral homes and arranging for last rituals made what had happened real he, too, was overcome with grief.
The toddler’s death does not appear to be criminal, police said. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner had not released its cause late Wednesday.
Wednesday night, in a parking lot next to the vehicle where his body was found, mourners gathered to pray and reflect on Sarbesh’s short life. Police officers took turns kneeling at the memorial.
The bereaved lit incense and candles and sat on the pavement before a photo of Sarbesh wearing a blue jacket. It was positioned on a wooden chair from the boy’s apartment.
Bhetwal, 34, said everyone had done what they could to look for the boy.
“We searched everywhere, but ...” He paused. “This is an unfortunate incident that happened.”
Diana Mendiola, 45, stood at the edge of the vigil Wednesday night. Her hand covered her mouth as she focused on the collection of white candles flickering against Sarbesh’s photo.
“I just wanted to come and see,” she said.
She wondered how it had happened. He was so little. So many people had been so close. But they could not know.
“It’s just so sad,” she said.
The last group of mourners blew out the candle flames. They trickled out of the parking lot. An air conditioner hummed.