FLAGSTAFF, Arizona — Carli Moncher stood over an expanse of teddy bears, balloons and candles left outside an apartment complex where a 6-year-old boy died this week, wiping her eyes shielded by sunglasses.

She added a small, tan puppy and nudged two plastic yellow flowers with solar panels into small spaces.

“I feel like our whole community is just reeling over the loss of this little boy who I didn’t even know but is just perfect and beautiful,” she said Wednesday. “I wanted to leave a little bit of light.”

Flagstaff police arrested the boy’s parents and grandmother Monday on suspicion of murder and child abuse. The boy and his 7-year-old brother were severely malnourished and kept in a closet for almost 16 hours a day over the past month with little food, police said.

The parents claimed the boys would steal food at night while the parents were asleep, and the grandmother said she would discipline them for trying to sneak out of the closet, police said.

To residents of the city nestled among Ponderosa pine trees, the 6-year-old was a “sweet angel” — words written on a pink heart-shaped balloon that swayed in the breeze. A memorial for him has grown as more people learn about the case.

A stream of people stopped Wednesday, some looking from their cars, and others to leave something new, take pictures or pray for the child and his three siblings, who were in the care of the state Department of Child Safety.

Wanda Ahasteen had a black-and-white stuffed puppy. As she was leaving an appointment earlier in the day, she saw a colorful drawing of a rocket ship and the planets and took that to the site, too.

“Maybe he’s telling me to bring it, I don’t know,” she said, overcome with tears.

Rosaries hung on either side of a framed collage showing the boy smiling, laughing and playing outside. In the far left corner, he was coloring Easter eggs. A bright green pail with Easter candy and a bunny peeked out alongside the frame, with other chicks, bunnies and flowers nearby.

Candles displayed images of Catholic figures, including St. Jude, to whom people in despair pray, and the Santo Nino de Atocha, a reminder of a child-like state. A card attached to a bouquet of flowers from the Flagstaff Police Department read: “May you rest in peace. Advocating for those who no longer have a voice.”

Police had no new details in the case Wednesday and did not release the child’s name. They said they are awaiting an autopsy report to determine the extent of abuse.

Mike Hollis, who oversees the apartment complex, said nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the family’s unit, although only the grandmother was on the lease.

“Nobody really knew, nobody heard anything,” he said.

The parents — Anthony Martinez, 23, and Elizabeth Archibeque-Martinez — and the grandmother, Ann Marie Martinez, 50, remained jailed on a $3 million cash-only bond each.

None of the three have been appointed attorneys yet. Calls made to numbers listed for family members on public records went unanswered or not returned Wednesday. Messages left on social media for Archibeque-Martinez’s relatives also were not returned.

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