August 10, 2009 in Idaho

Idaho boy found in canal laid to rest

Associated Press
Darin Oswald photo

Charles Manwill, of New Plymouth, Idaho, consoles his daughter as they sit near the cremated remains of his son Robert Manwill, 8, on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009, at a funeral service at Cloverdale Funeral Home in Boise.
(Full-size photo)

BOISE — An 8-year-old boy who was missing for more than a week before his body was found floating in a canal has been laid to rest at a Boise cemetery.

Nearly 500 members of the community and an Idaho National Guard contingent attended a public memorial service for Robert Manwill on Sunday at the Cloverdale Funeral Home and Memorial Park.

The group represented a portion of the 2,330 community volunteers who helped search for the boy, who disappeared July 24 after leaving his mother’s apartment in Boise.

“It is so sad,” said Boise resident Marcy Simily, who attended the service. The boy lived with his father, Charles Manwill, in New Plymouth and was visiting his mother the night he vanished.

The death is an active homicide investigation and there is no evidence the boy was abducted by a stranger, according to the Boise Police Department.

Authorities have not named any suspects.

At the funeral, family members wept as white doves were released and circled above the crowd.

“How could this happen,” said Pastor George Sova, who led the service. “It wasn’t anyone’s fault that he wasn’t found. It wasn’t Robert’s fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault.”

Sova read letters from the boy’s father and mother, Melissa Jenkins.

“My memory that I will hold tightly is of you in the ocean. You were frolicking in the waves and shrieking in delight, and you didn’t want to come out of the water,” Jenkins wrote.

Charles Manwill wrote about his son’s exuberance for life and reminisced that he would tell people the boy was “100 pounds of energy packed into 50 pounds of body.”

Funeral services for the boy were held in the same cemetery where his grandfather and half-brother, Michael, were laid to rest.

Charles Manwill’s former wife stabbed their son, 4-year-old Michael, in the chest in 1993. Silke Fatma Manwill pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and served time in federal prison before being released in 2002.

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