JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Minister Latocia Shamley was at James Island County Park when Duffy McLemore went missing. She prayed with his mother and the rest of his family.
The 3-year-old went missing around 4:45 p.m. on Saturday. Officials say his body was found in a small pond around 10:03 that night.
"They just wanted little Duffy back and she was just crying and calling his name and just hoping that you know he would just answer," said Shamley.
Her family assisted in the search for the child.
"She was crying emotionally, thanking me for praying and just praying that everything would be okay."
Shamley was at the park for a birthday party while others were also there enjoying the day. When news spread of the missing child everyone had a different agenda.
"We had people on the outside just standing watching us pray, people in area just listening to the prayer," Shamley said. "People just stopped and listened and wanted to find little Duffy."
Several agencies joined together along with people at the park to find him.
After more than five hours of searching, park officials say Duffy's body was found in a pond behind the Spray Play. The pond can be accessed from both sides of the play area. It is not confirmed that it was the pond directly behind the play area.
Families say they're watching their children even closer after learning of what the coroner has ruled an accidental drowning.
"I couldn't believe it, I bring my grandkids here and I stressed them the fact you don't go close to water," Tina Grammer said. "It's terrible, I feel for the momma and daddy I know they've got to be hurting, that is a tragedy."
"I have three little ones, and my heart goes out to the family," Belinda Jenkins said.
Shamley says Duffy was also at the park with his grandmother and siblings.
A prayer of hope, is now a prayer of healing.
"We thank God for the police, everybody that came out just the people that were there that were just being a blessing to helping that mother at the time of her going through," Shamley said.