Hundreds of mourners filled the seats at Delmar Full Gospel Church on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 21, to celebrate the life of Jonathan Carey.
The 13-year-old autistic boy died Thursday, Feb. 15, while being transported from the O.D. Heck Developmental Center in Schenectady to Crossgates Mall.
The funeral service focused a great deal on Jonathan's love of God, and his parents used their faith as a source of strength to deal with their personal tragedy.
Jonathan has run his race and he has completed everything that the Father has given to him to do, said his mother, Lisa Carey.
Both Lisa and Jonathan's father Michael hope that with Jonathan's death, there will be revived interest from state legislators to pass a law that would open medical investigative records to parents and regulatory agencies concerning abuses of the developmentally disabled.
Jonathan's family has said that Jonathan, who was non-verbal, was the victim of abuse in 2004 at the hands of employees at his previous residence, the Anderson School in Dutchess County, yet investigative records detailing alleged abuses are kept closed.
Lisa Carey said she hoped her son died "so that others who have no voice won't have to suffer like he did."
"We are grateful for the time that we had with him," said Michael Carey, who then sobbed, "I'm going to miss him so much."
Michael said through what his son had overcome, he gave hope and inspiration to his parents and others. And despite what he may have suffered, Michael said of Jonathan, "He still smiled every step of the way."
According to Colonie police, Jonathan was killed when he had allegedly been suffocated by an aide from O.D. Heck while being restrained in the back of the van in which they were transporting him in on Central Avenue in Colonie.