Friends, family, searchers mourn boy’s death: ‘It’s a shame. I can’t believe it’

After a 14-hour quest to find a missing boy, search team volunteers grieved the devastating news Monday morning.

Their search was over.

Overwhelmed with grief and shock after news of 4-year-old Kylar Johnson’s death, family, friends and volunteers hugged, cried and prayed together.

Search team volunteers, many of whom had never met the Johnson family, offered condolences.

When Terri Ellis, 43, of Victoria, heard about the search that morning through Facebook, she knew she had to help.

“It’s his first name,” Ellis said. “That’s my youngest son’s first name.”


Ellis, a registered nurse, and her husband, Michael, joined about 100 volunteers, friends and family members in the desperate search for Kylar. Ellis was hopeful. If she had found him, she could help him if he were hurt.

“I knew there’d be a lot of people out here,” Ellis said. “It hits close to home.”

She said she wants the county to ban aggressive breed animals, such as pit bulls.

“I see no need for them,” she said.

Before the news came that the search was over, she said, the atmosphere was “tense, but hopeful.”

“Each and every person out here has a different reason to be here,” Ellis said. “But in the end, it was all to find Kylar.”

Nolin Drouin searched from midnight to 4 a.m. Monday and returned after a few hours to continue looking.

“My wife and I just said, ‘We’ve got to go help,'” he said. “It’s a shame. I can’t believe it.”

Rumors and speculation surrounding Kylar’s death swarmed the command center Monday morning. Preliminary autopsy results are expected Tuesday. If confirmed as a pit bull attack, this would be the county’s fourth such incident in two weeks.

Lanndon Smith, 27, who lives near the Johnson home, talked with suspicion about it.

“There’s something wrong,” he said.

Others simply offered support and prayers for the family.

Alfred Sierra, 66, has lived in the neighborhood for about 16 years. He has grandchildren who are Kylar’s age.

“We hoped they’d find him all right,” Sierra said Monday morning. “I know what it’s like to lose a child. The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

He said the best Kyler’s family can do is stay strong for each other and in their faith.

“There’s sorrow and pain, but we’ve got to hold strong,” he said, “and one day all these tears will be washed away.”


Victoria Advocate

March 27, 2012


Published by

Melissa Crowe

I’m Melissa, an adventure-seeking, budget-crunching, internet-loving journalist. Along with covering local government at Victoria Advocate, I write a weekly music column for Get Out and freelance for University of Houston-Victoria in my spare time. In this year’s Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awards, I won first place for star breaking news report of the year, first star online package of the year, first community service and first deadline writing. I also won third place for team effort, honorable mention for freedom of information, and honorable mention for star investigative report of the year. I also took first place for best breaking news story in the Local Media Association Editorial Contest, a national contest. Last year, I won second in the TAPME contest for star online package, third for star breaking news report and honorable mentions for star investigative report and team effort. The Local Media Association awarded me with an honorable mention for best breaking news story. I grew up in rural northern Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas. After working for a family-owned paper in the eastern corner of the state, I took an opportunity to move south. When I’m not filing FOIA requests, I enjoy spicy Bloody Marys, kayaking the Guadalupe River and exploring South Texas. Would you like to hire me to write or edit something? Or ask me a question? Or send me a link to a funny GIF? Email me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s