MACGREGOR, Man. — The parents of a two-year-old boy who was found dead after wandering away from their rural Manitoba home held each other close as a tiny, white casket was carried out of a church on Wednesday.
Chase Martens was last seen playing in the yard of his home near Austin last Tuesday, and a massive search followed.
On Saturday, his body was found in a creek less than a kilometre from his home and an autopsy determined he'd drowned.
Chase's grandmother, Margaret Martens, told more than 500 people at the memorial service at Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in MacGregor that the family will forever cherish the beautiful memories Chase created.
Chase Martens will be buried later this week. (Photo: RCMP Manitoba)
Pastor Abe Gunther taught Chase’s dad, Thomas Martens, in Sunday school.
He says Chase is "sitting on the right hand with Jesus."
A wake and burial is to follow later this week in Grand Rapids.
Chase's mom, Destiny Turner, and dad thanked the community for its support after the memorial service.
“It gave me a calming relief in the heart," Turner said. "Everybody that we don’t even know just cared so much for our son."
Margaret Martens also thanked those who helped in the search. She recalled how her grandson loved animals, enjoyed watching his dad work and shared a special bond with his two older sisters, Taylor and Danika.
“It gave me a calming relief in the heart. Everybody that we don’t even know just cared so much for our son."
"He loved his movies, especially "Frozen,"” Martens told the congregation.
She said the first sentence he said was "Let it go."
One of Chase's sisters waved goodbye as the boy's body was taken away from the church.
The parents say they are now focused on moving on.
“Chase would want his mother and daddy to be happy, keep good care of his sisters, and just move on and we’ll meet him again,” Turner said.