Dozens of mourners gathered Tuesday at a funeral service for Ayden Wolfe, the 10-year-old boy whose stepfather allegedly bludgeoned him to death earlier this month — remembering him as a “beautiful person” who “brought out the best in everybody.”
About 30 to 40 people came to Mount Herman Baptist Church in the Bronx to pay their respects to Ayden, who was found March 6 with “severe trauma” inside a fourth-floor apartment within the St. Nicholas Houses. He was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital.
Mourner Jason Watson, who said his daughter was best friends with Ayden, had fond memories of the boy.
“Ayden was a beautiful person,” Watson said. “Like if you got a chance to be around that kid, you’ll know that every moment of being around them, it was the same experience.
“He sold you love, kindness, joy, excitement. He brought out the best in everybody. He was a positive kid, a positive role model to all kids.”
Watson’s daughter is “sad and hurt” over Ayden’s death, he said.
“I can’t even bring her to the funeral today because it would traumatize her to bring her here,” he said.
Ayden’s mother was also best friends with Watson’s wife, he said.
“His mother was a good mother,” Watson added. “[I don’t know] know the full details of it, but all I know that mother was a good mother to that kid.”
Some guests wore customized T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with Ayden’s name and the number 10, while others wore suits and formal attire.
Emotions flared as an argument broke out toward the end of the funeral. A woman could be seen yelling at at least one other person near the door.
“Everybody relax,” a male voice could be heard saying. “We’re not going to end on this note.”
Pastor Joseph Jones, of the church where the funeral was held, said the boy’s death should be a wake-up call to the community to be “more vigilant.”
“None of us can say that that’s not my child,” Jones said. “It’s always all of our children. So we just want to make sure that everybody stays more vigilant. Especially now during this COVID season that we have to watch each other, look out for each other, pay attention to each other, especially our children, they don’t understand all that’s going on. So we have to watch for them.”
Ayden’s stepdad Ryan Cato, 34, was charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the callous abuse.
He has three prior arrests, the most recent in December in Brooklyn, for allegedly assaulting the mother of his children in their presence.