SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. — In downtown Sheboygan Falls, purple hearts were taped to several store windows on Monday in honor of 8-year-old Oliver Hitchcock.
Sheboygan Falls Police have said the 8-year-old boy died last week after he was attacked by his mother.
Purple was Oliver's favorite color. Barb Sander, retail manager at Bemis Bath Shoppe, created and shared many of the purple hearts with other businesses as a small gesture to send a message to Oliver's family.
"Whether we know you or not, you're not alone," Sander said.
"When somebody is hurting, we're all hurting," said Shirl Breunig, executive director of the Sheboygan Falls Chamber-Main Street. Breunig worked with Sander to hand out the purple heart cutouts.
Some people wore whatever purple item they had in their closet, including workers at City Hall.
"Although they might not know who works at City Hall, who works in utilities, all the businesses downtown, that we as a community came together," said Shad Tenpas, city administrator.
Support spread beyond Sheboygan Falls. One of the women organizing a vigil for Oliver sent us pictures to show just some of the people standing behind the 8-year-old's family.
On social media, supporters used #PurpleForOliver while sharing their pictures and messages.
"It's a very traumatic situation for the family, but it's also traumatic for our family as law enforcement, fire, and community as a whole," said Chief Eric Miller with the Sheboygan Falls Police Department.
Miller said multiple counseling and mental health resources are available for law enforcement and first responders.
"There's always gonna be the person or multiple people that are gonna second-guess themselves. Should I have done this? Could I have saved him if I did this? It just gets out there that you're not the only one thinking that," Miller said.
"No family should have to go through something like this. Such a tragedy. So really keep that family in your prayers," Breunig said.
Oliver's mother was taken into custody and has been held at the Sheboygan County Jail as the district attorney reviews potential charges.
A vigil for Oliver was scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday at River Park.