HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – More than a year after Codi Bigsby was reported missing in Hampton, the effort to help get him home safely continues.
“It’s been a long time. We are coming up on 400 days with no word,” said Nancy Strickland, president of We Are Codi’s Voice.
For more than a year, Strickland hoped for Codi’s safe return.
“I go to bed every night and say a prayer for Codi that he is found safe,” she said.
Strickland has participated in massive search parties and candlelight vigils for the now 5-year-old.
“He just drew me with those eyes and sweet little face, and I haven’t stopped,” Strickland said. “I will not stop until I bring Codi home.”
A wall of teddy bears and toys was the center for the searches, but now Strickland wants something more.
“I just wanted something permanent for us to be able to come and sit, say a prayer for Codi’s safe return and let everybody see there is a missing child out there,” she said.
She planned to put the tribute at the Buckroe Point Apartments – the place Codi lived.
Last week, the apartment complex approved her plans.
“I immediately broke down and cried,” Strickland said.
In a patch of grass, she is hoping to add a wooden bench, a plaque and a Bird of Paradise garden.
On the plaque is a poem for Codi:
Codi, although we have never met. No matter where we will truly never be apart. Forever in our hearts, we love you from all over the world.
The tribute will be placed right in front of the playground – a place Strickland said Codi should be.
“He would be sliding down the slide,” Strickland said. “You know he would be climbing up the little wall over there.”
Strickland hopes the bench will be a constant reminder about the missing 5-year-old.
Strickland has the support of the community, who helped raise $600 dollars for the bench.
“He stole our hearts and it’s beautiful to see this community come together,” she said.
Strickland continues to raise money, hoping to collect $1,500 for the bench, plaque and garden.