Family of Kash Waylan Hodges holds vigil for drowned four-year-old

As family and friends released balloons they shouted “long live Kash”
As family and friends released balloons they shouted “long live Kash”
Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 11:13 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Emotions ran high at a vigil for Kash Waylan Hodges as family members and friends gathered one more time to say goodbye.

The four-year-old drowned in a retention pond behind oakwood commons shopping center in Gainesville on Thursday.

A friend of the family says nobody is to blame for what she called a senseless tragedy.

“Kash was taking a nap in the break room with his dad when [his mother] was finishing work,” said a friend of Kash’s mom, Celeste Gomes. “So I’m really angry because it’s not nobody’s fault. Any child can wake up from taking a nap and go outside.”

At the vigil, Kash’s mom, Taychianna Figueroa, gave an emotional speech about losing her son.

“You gotta understand I did everything for that little boy and I couldn’t protect him the other day,” said Figueroa, “I couldn’t protect my son.”

After his mom spoke, a minister said a prayer and those on hand released balloons for Kash while shouting “long live Kash.”

“This woman is an awesome mother,” said Gomes, “she was an awesome mother, and she loves her son. This is an accident and I will stand by her with everything...It’s sad and it breaks my heart because I see this little boy everyday and he blows me kisses, and I won’t never see that again.”

Gomes says she would like to see more safety precautions at the pond to prevent tragedies like this in the future.

“I took video of all through the back,” said Gomes. “there’s not one sign, not one fence...Considering the fact that there is a jump park with children running all over the place...Any child can come out of there and come straight to the pond. Children are known for running to water, especially when there’s ducks back here, and that’s what happened to Kash.”

People have started a GoFundMe to support the family of Kash Wayland Hodges and help pay for funeral expenses.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.