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Vigil planned for Fergus Falls boy who died after alleged abuse

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - A candlelight vigil on Monday evening, April 16, is planned for a 6-year-old boy who died here after, police say, he was physically abused.The vigil for Justis Rae Burland will take place at 7 p.m. at Hilltop Celebration Chu...

Justis Rae Burland
Justis Rae Burland

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - A candlelight vigil on Monday evening, April 16, is planned for a 6-year-old boy who died here after, police say, he was physically abused.

The vigil for Justis Rae Burland will take place at 7 p.m. at Hilltop Celebration Church, 525 Minnesota Highway 210 in Fergus Falls. A Facebook page for the event says over 160 are interested in attending or planning to do so.

There will be live music and an open mic, with snacks and refreshments provided. The first 100 children will receive a stuffed animal with a blue ribbon to honor victims of child abuse.

Justis and his twin brother were living with a woman and man who are now being held in Otter Tail County Jail on charges of murder and abuse. The boys' legal guardian lives in Montana, police said.

Fergus Falls shop owner Emily Lindstrom Zelinsky is organizing the vigil with other volunteers.

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Zelinsky said Bobbie Bishop, the woman Justis lived with, was a regular at her consignment shop, the Blessing Closet, and she would often bring Justis and his brother with her.

The last time Bishop came in was Saturday, April 7, when she said, "the boys are with Dad today." That was two days before Justis died Monday, April 9.

Zelinsky described Justis' demeanor as "a little quiet and standoffish." She said, "he kept looking back and forth over his shoulder in a paranoid way."

He was shy, but extremely polite. He would always say please and thank you. Zelinsky said she never suspected the boy was being abused.

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