ARLINGTON — Gathered on an elementary school yard on a misty night, friends, family, and neighbors on Tuesday paid tribute to Mei Kum Jones and her two sons, Cameron and Colt, on what would have been the boys’ first birthday.
Jones, 43, her twin sons, and her husband, Scott Jones, also 43, were found dead in their Newland Road home last week by officers sent to check on their well-being. Authorities have said that Scott Jones likely killed his wife and sons, then himself.
More than 50 people amassed outside the Peirce Elementary School sang and prayed, dots of light from their candles illuminating the blacktop.
Ben Li, Mei Jones’ brother, spoke during the vigil, as did several of Jones’ family friends.
Li spoke of how excited his sister was when she found out she was having twins, and how she enjoyed being a mother to Colt and Cameron, an organizer said.
Sarah Schwartz, who has lived on Newland Road for two years but did not know the Jones family, said she and others found some solace in organizing the vigil after the killings disrupted the community.
“It deeply touched me and a lot of other people in the neighborhood,” Schwartz said. “We just wanted to help in healing the community.”
Schwartz said she was especially touched by the music people played, hearing the crowds singing, and the closing moment of silence. She said she thought Ben Li’s message also resonated with the crowd.
“He just talked from his heart,” she said. “The one thing he kept bringing up is how much she loved being a mother, and how her boys were her greatest joy.”
Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan was among those who attended the vigil. Talking publicly about domestic violence can encourage other victims, or their loved ones, to seek help, Ryan said.
“It’s like any other thing that’s shrouded in secrecy: the more you discuss this out in public, the better it is,” she said.
Those in attendance were encouraged to make a donation in Jones’ memory to REACH Beyond Domestic Violence a Waltham-based organization that provides shelter and advocacy for victims of domestic violence, or the March of Dimes, the non-profit that works for the health of mothers and infants.
Authorities have said that the couple was planning to divorce and that the slayings occurred just days after the marriage fell apart. Scott Jones had a history of depression and suicide attempts, court records show. In divorce filings, his previous wife said she feared for her safety at one point.
“With every tragedy there is opportunity, and the opportunity here is to raise awareness around domestic violence,” Police Chief Frederick Ryan said after the vigil.
Family friends said seeing the community’s support helped start their healing.
“I think, for people who lived in the community and didn’t know who she was, this was a good way to get to know her,” said Brian Burke, a friend of Li who lives in Watertown.Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at email@example.com.