Cory Barron roamed the halls of Fremont Ross High School for four years, and it was just outside his alma mater's doors that dozens gathered Tuesday night to pay tribute to his tragically short life.
Barron, 22, was found dead Tuesday afternoon after he went missing from a concert Friday night in Cleveland — and just hours after receiving the heart-breaking news, nearly 100 people came together in the high school's parking lot to support one another and mourn as a community.
The crowd was a sea of purple and white, Fremont Ross's colors. Current students, recent alumni, parents and Fremont residents embraced, shed tears, and shared memories of the happy-go-lucky man torn from his community by an untimely death.
The group joined hands and formed a circle as Jim Gippert, pastor of New Hope Vineyard Church, led a prayer.
Steve Hampshire, a retired Fremont Ross teacher, and Mike Dukeshire, a Fremont Ross parent, also spoke a few words in Barron's honor.
Dukeshire reminisced about Barron's jokes, time in school, and talents on the football field. He was a lineman, noted one of Barron's classmates before stepping aside to compose himself.
"Cory would've made a difference in our community, our state, our country," Dukeshire said. "He was going to be a difference-maker. Whatever he chose to do, he was going to do it well."
"If the shoe were on the other foot, Cory would be standing right here, with all of us," Dukeshire said.
The community had been hoping for a happy resolution to Barron's disappearance.
Unfortunately, a body identified as Barron was found at the Lorain County Landfill Tuesday afternoon.
The body came into the landfill, 43502 Oberlin-Elyria Road, in Oberlin, about 12:30 p.m. in a dump truck that had completed a route in Cleveland earlier that day, said Lorain County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Drozdowski. After the trash was dumped and scraped away, a worker saw Barron’s body and called police.
Barron’s family reported him missing early Saturday afternoon.
Deputies from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, detectives from the Cleveland Police Department and the Lorain County coroner arrived at the landfill about 1 p.m. Tuesday and found Barron, still with his identification and a ticket stub from the concert, Drozdowski said.
He had no obvious signs of injury, though detectives did not examine Barron’s entire body, Pillow said.
After the body was found, Cleveland police started investigating around Progressive Field in Cleveland. They had searched the area for the past few days since Barron was reported missing, Pillow said.
The Cleveland Indians released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the team was saddened by Barron’s death and are cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
Country singer Jason Aldean, whose concert Barron had been attending Friday evening, published a message on Twitter Tuesday evening, offering his sympathy to Barron's friends and family.
Gippert described the community's sense of shock, bewilderment and despair after learning of Barron's death.
"This is a time we need to pull together as a community, as friends, as Fremont," Gippert said.
Hampshire, meanwhile, told the group he's known Barron's family for three decades — he later described them as an "All-American family."
"They're good people. (This) came out of nowhere," Hampshire said.
The community's shock was apparent during Tuesday night's vigil.
The crowd was quiet and distraught throughout the ceremony — most simply held tight onto one another's hands, or nodded along while others spoke of the good man Barron was.
Hampshire echoed that sentiment.
“I'm sure he's up there right now, looking down and smiling," Hampshire said.
One woman said those who knew Barron wouldn't be able to say a negative thing about him.
"Not most (of the people who knew him). All," she said.
Another man said he was close to Barron's brother, and always looked up to Barron as a role model.
Still another student said she wasn't familiar with Barron himself, but was there to support a fellow Fremont Ross Little Giant.
Before departing, Dukeshire, Fremont Schools school board member Scott Miller and a handful of others began to coordinate a candlelight vigil, tentatively scheduled for Thursday night at Fremont Ross High School.
Though Barron's family wasn't able to attend Tuesday's ceremony, a few crowd members said they'd reach out and let them know of Thursday's plans.
— Remembering Cory Barron
When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Fremont Ross High School, 1100 North St., Fremont.
Wear: Purple and white (Fremont Ross apparel)
Bring: A candle, if possible.
Check back for updates.
Posted July 22, 2014
Headline: Deputies: Body in landfill is missing Fremont man
Lorain County deputies confirmed the body is that of Cory Barron, 22.
UPDATE: 6 p.m.
Lorain County deputies have positively identified the body as Cory Barron, 22, of Fremont.
Lorain County deputies and the Lorain County coroner have been at the landfill for about two hours, according to the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.
The coroner confirmed the body is that of a man who appears to be in his 20s.
The find comes more than 72 hours after a Fremont man, Cory Barron, 22, disappeared during a Friday-night concert at Cleveland's Progressive Field.
Officials have not identified the body.
Check back for updates as they happen.