Prayers for 4-year-old who died near 17th and Grant; his mom in custody: “An innocent life is gone”

MILWAUKEE -- A vigil was held Sunday evening, October 1st following the death of a four-year-old boy near 17th and Grant in Milwaukee. Police are investigating the death as a homicide -- and the boy's mother is expected to be charged.

Family members told FOX6 News Antonio Di Stasio's mother is behind bars, awaiting formal charges, as this tragedy has drawn the attention of child abuse prevention advocates, who said they hope no other children suffer like little Antonio.

Antonio Di Stasio

As candles burned bright at dusk on the first day of October, there were tears for a little boy who is no longer able to bring light into the world.

Juan Allen

"He was a good kid. Always smiling," Juan Allen, Antonio's uncle said.

On Thursday, September 28th, police say four-year-old Antonio died inside an apartment building near 17th and Grant on Milwaukee's south side. Investigators say the boy was found partially burned, and they've deemed this a homicide.

"It's just sad. That's an innocent life that's gone. I'm just trying to cope with the pain right now," Allen said.

Child abuse prevention advocates, the "Guardians of the Children" help families and neighborhoods in the aftermath of tragedies like this. They said this case is particularly difficult to process.

Vigil for Antonio Di Stasio

"Our hearts are numb because we deal with it every single day, but we're never going to give up. We'll always be there for these children," a representative with Guardians of the Children Hawg City Chapter, who did not want to be identified said.

Ralph Di Stasio

The boy's grandfather told FOX6 News that sadly, his daughter, four-year-old Antonio's mother, is the 23-year-old woman in custody for the crime. Ralph Di Stasio said his daughter is bipolar.

"It's difficult for all of us. No one expected this to ever happen," Ralph Di Stasio said.

Whatever the circumstances that led to the four-year-old boy's death, it has many seeking answers, hopeful no other children will have to suffer.

"Whatever we have to do to raise the awareness, we do it," the Guardians of the Children representative said.

Vigil for Antonio Di Stasio

Vigil for Antonio Di Stasio

Vigil for Antonio Di Stasio

Vigil for Antonio Di Stasio