"It should never have happened."

Candle lit to mark the resting place of Alan Madden.

In 1981 the Quincy community was saddened by the death of 5-year-old Alan Madden at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.

More than 30 years later, his memory is kept alive by those who remember and loved him most.

As the sun set in Quincy Saturday night, a group of friends and classmates of Alan Madden gathered at the Graceland Cemetery to honor the memory of the little boy who died much too soon.

Chris Prewitt was in 4th grade when Madden was killed, but his death left a lasting impact on him.

"It's not like today where they have grief counselors and stuff to help the children along with this," Prewitt said. "We heard about it via news. So yeah it impacted and has been with me all my life."

Anyone looking at Alan's gravestone can see the obvious attention and care that Chris and others give to it.

Toys cars and a wooden bear mark the sight of childhood lost.

More than 30 years later Alan's next door neighbor and best friend, Daryl Decker still struggles to express his feelings.

"I grew up next door to Alan," Decker said. "We played a lot. And I don't want him forgotten."

Despite the tragedy, Prewitt says something important came out of Madden's untimely death.

"He didn't die for no reason," Prewitt said. "I know it was a tragic event but because of his death there were some changes that were made in the way that stuff was handled by DCFS and in investigations. And I just want it to be remembered that he didn't die senselessly."

"No one should should ever forget him," Daryl Decker said through stifled tears. "For what he went through. It just ... it should have never happened."

The crowd gathered at the graveside of this little boy proved that no life is insignificant and that even the youngest life can leave a lasting impression.

Prewitt says that he has passed on the importance of this memorial service to his children so that in years to come when he and Alan's other classmates are gone, Quincy will not forget the life of Alan Madden.