Facebook, Memorial Balloon Create Friendship Following Shooting Death

Posted at 10:03 PM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-08 04:44:44-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. – At his home in Wilson County, James Holt often spends his days outside in his yard, which was where he was on August 9, when he spotted something falling from the sky.

“It hit the ground, and I sat there for a few minutes, and I said ‘I wonder what that was!’,” Holt said.

It turned out to be a photo of a six-year-old boy, kneeling at a large portrait of his father. The photo Holt found was attached to a balloon.

“I saw a grieving little boy who misses his dad real bad, and hopes his dad would come back,” Holt said.

Trying to find out just who he was, Holt posted a message to the Hip Mt. Juliet Facebook page, when Holt said all of a sudden he was bombarded with responses.

Ayesha Williams of Clarksville responded, saying it was a photo of her son A.J., mourning the loss of his dad, Frankie Caratini.

About a year ago Frankie was killed in a shooting in Clarksville. Two Sunday's ago, his loved ones came together to honor his life -- with a balloon release, it would have just been his 25th birthday.

“We let them go after singing happy birthday,” Williams said.

The balloon with A.J.’s picture landed in Holt’s yard six hours later.

“I wanted to do something for the kids. That was where my heart was at,” Holt said. “I couldn't imagine losing either of my parents.”

He connected with Ayesha on Facebook, and they all met each other this weekend for a day at the Wilson County fair.

“It just melted my heart, because I never expected that to come from anybody,” Williams said.

Ayesha and James say they plan on more outings in the future.

“I guess I'm glad it landed in my yard,” Holt said. “It could have landed anywhere else, and at least it landed here where I could be a part of something.”

Police still haven't solved the murder of Frankie Caratini, but his family says they haven't given up hope that they'll find who's responsible.