Nearly 3,000 people gathered on Friday night at a candlelight vigil to remember 14-year-old Elias Rodriguez, who accidentally drowned in the Los Angeles River.
Rodriguez went missing nearly three weeks ago while walking to his grandmother's house during a large storm.
"Today is a difficult day. At the same time, it is a joyous one because I see how much Elias has impacted all of you," said Jesenia Vega, Elias' aunt.
Police believe Elias fell into the Pacoima Wash, which family members say he sometimes used as a shortcut, after leaving his school in San Fernando. His body was found eight days later in the L.A. River in Los Feliz.
"It wasn't the outcome I expected. I always thought we would have a huge party when we found him," said Vega at the vigil in San Fernando."But we will celebrate his life because he became everyone's angel in the community."
The teenager's body likely traveled a distance of more than 20 miles from the area where he was last seen, with currents in the water at times reaching up to 70 mph.