Central residents honor 2-yr-old tossed over bridge

"I just felt it in my heart as so many people here in Central do, that this child needs to be honored."

Kaden Johnson was tossed over the Central Thruway on March 5, 2022 but his lifeless body wasn’t found until March 14, 2022.

The man accused of tossing the 2-yr-old over the bridge, Brynnen Murphy, 20, admitted to officers that after tossing Kaden’s mother’s body on Burbank on March 5th, he allegedly drove to the elevated portion of Central Thruway and tossed Kaden over the side while he was still alive. 

Murphy told officers “he heard the child cry after he threw him over the side, but he drove away and parked the victim’s vehicle on a dead-end street near his residence.”

An autopsy found Kaden most likely died from hypothermia.

On Wednesday, March 16th, Lisa Shaffer Hester went to the Central Thruway and laid an bouquet in Kaden’s honor.

“I just felt it in my heart as so many people here in Central do, that this child needs to be honored. This is our community and we just can’t wrap our heads around this tragedy. Every time I pass that spot I will pray for this family and this child,” said Hester.

Hester did not know the Johnson family. It was just something she wanted to do for Kaden.

“I’m just so heartbroken that a child had to suffer like that. Everybody I talk to says they cry every time they pass the spot just knowing that he was there and we pass it every day two and three times and if we could’ve just seen him,” said Hester.

Plus, a group of people came together to make a wooden cross for Kaden complete with a wreath. Windy Corcoran and a local woodworker, who asked to remain anonymous, made the cross while Sherry Gomez made and added the wreath.

The cross was placed in front of the sign for the bridge on Friday afternoon.

“Like so many others in Central, we all passed that way over the weekend not knowing this precious soul was laying there and I wanted to show respect for his life,” said Corcoran. “For me, it symbolizes that his little life mattered and the citizens of Central and everywhere care.”

“This just broke my heart. This innocent child didn’t deserve to die like this,” said Gomez. “As a grandmother of three, I just felt like I had to do something to honor this little guy. It’s not much and it still tears me up to think about what he went through. He’s safe now.”

Corcoran said Gomez “spent her day going to the craft store to pick out exactly what she felt would be perfect for the wreath. She wanted it to be as special as it could be.”

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