KERMIT, N.J. — The parents of a boy who died last week at the age of five said their son, who died on Dec. 6 at the hands of an unidentified gunman, would never have given birth to a baby girl.
“He’s a very special child, a very gentle child,” said his father, James Cone, as he read from a prepared statement, his first since his son died.
“He’s going to be missed.”
His father was joined by his mother, Rosemary Cone.
The father’s statement came in the wake of the mass shooting in which he said his son, Matthew Cone III, died at age five from what he described as a “natural” and “undiagnosed” heart condition.
He did not provide further details.
A few minutes earlier, Rosemarie Cone spoke at the news conference in which she said her son had been a “lovely, funny, smart kid” who loved drawing.
“There was no doubt in my mind he was just going to have a happy life,” she said.
“It was never his intent to have another child.
He just wanted to have his own little girl.
But he did want to have her.
He wanted her with him.
And that was a very natural thing.
It wasn’t a choice.
It was never a choice.”
Her husband, who also attended the news meeting, described Matthew as a loving, funny little boy who was always looking for ways to make people smile.
The family also held a vigil for the boy outside their home in Bergen County on Thursday evening, which was attended by hundreds of people.
Cone said the family was praying for his recovery.
“We have a son who we miss dearly,” she told the gathering of reporters.
“And the world has lost a wonderful son.”
She also addressed the media, saying, “My thoughts are with his family.”
The family of Matthew Cones III said they were saddened by the news.
“Our heart is broken,” Rosemary told CNN affiliate WPVI.
“It’s not easy to hear about the death of a child and not know how many children are losing their lives.
We can’t get over the loss of a life.
We don’t know what is going on in the world.””
We want to make sure the world knows that this child will be remembered for what he was,” she added.”
This is a horrible tragedy.
It’s a tragedy that we don’t understand at all.”ABC News’ John Brancato contributed to this report.