PORTSMOUTH -- More than 100 people gathered Sunday to celebrate the life of 15-year-old Gary Faulkner who died in the Elizabeth River Thursday during a fishing outing.
"I know that he,s going to be missed, said Janine Faulkner, Gary's mother. "I see that a whole lot. He's going to be really missed, and, you know, I didn't realize how much he was loved until this happened."
Gary was with 2 friends when he fell in the water. Crews searched the river and found his body hours later near the Clifford Street Bridge.
Faulkner said Gary was autistic and often bullied or harassed by people.
"You know, he would come home and talk to me and felt like nobody really cared, but now, you know, he's up there smiling where nobody can harm him anymore and pick on him," Faulkner said.
Because of the circumstances of his death, Portsmouth Police Department considers it "suspicious" for the time being, which is typical in a situation such as this. Gary's body has not been released to his family, so Faulkner has not made funeral arrangements.
Faulkner is confident Gary's death was accidental, and told 13News Now she is ready to move on because she knows that's what her son would want her to do.
"All he cared about was if he seen you was down and out and you had a frown on your face, all he wanted to do was make you smile," Faulkner said.
Friends are working to raise money to help with burial costs.