Vigil planned for boys apparently killed by grandmother

People in the Stonington area are rallying behind a family whose sons were allegedly shot to death by their grandmother.

A vigil is planned for Friday in North Stonington for 2-year-old Alton Perry and his 6-month-old brother, Ashton.

"I'm at a loss for words. Every time I think of the pain that we feel, and then have to imagine what Brenda and Jeremy feel, it just takes my breath away," said Nikki Salun, referring to the boys' parents.

It was hard for those at Kidds & Co. day care in North Stonington to hold back the tears Wednesday. They're still trying to make sense of why Debra Denison killed herself and her grandsons Alton and Ashton Perry.

"They just were both really happy boys. Energetic and adorable," Salun said.

It was Alton's birthday on Tuesday when Denison picked up the boys from day care. The day care's owner, Christine Hare, said there were no signs something was amiss.

"She said, 'It's your birthday. We're going to have a party,' and they were fine and in good moods," Hare said. "We didn't pick up on anything."

That was until they tried to get a hold of Denison when they thought she took someone else's car seat.

"We were getting no answer so we called mom, and mom said she couldn't get a hold of her and that's when everything started," Hare said.

Connecticut State Police issued an Amber Alert and began searching. The boys' parents revealed Denison was mentally ill and had bipolar disorder. Police later reported Denison left a suicide note.

The bodies of Denison and the boys were found hours later in a minivan parked near Lake of Isles in Preston.

For now, those at the day care are trying to provide support for each other while keeping the Perrys in their prayers.

"They have an outpouring I know of support and we're just here to help them too," Hare said.

The vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the North Stonington Recreational Facility on Route 2.