Fundraiser for Two-Year-Old's Funeral Held in Carson City

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Surrounded by friends and family, a visible shaken Nic Watson sips from a to-go coffee cup at The Spoke Bar and Grill in Carson City Saturday.

"It's definitely hard being here," Watson said. "It's not for us though, it's for him."

Last month, Watson's two-year-old son, Justin Watson, tragically died from injuries he received while under the care of Watson's girlfriend.

"It was devastating to all of us, especially my son," Tina McNeill, Justin's grandma said. "[Justin] was a big part of our lives- my first grandson."

As the family took Justin off life support, an investigation into his death began. An autopsy was performed in late November, but it could be weeks until any answers are given. Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says the toxicology reports could play an important role in the investigation.

"I miss him everyday," McNeill said. "There's a little bit of anger, but I miss him everyday."

Though investigators have said both Watson and his girlfriend were cooperating with the investigation, friends at the fundraiser say she is no longer involved in Watson's life.

As Watson and his parents grieve, friends have jumped into action. A fundraiser was held at The Spoke Bar and Grill in Carson City to help Justin's father pay for medical and funeral expenses.

The circumstances surrounding the toddler's death may still be unclear, but those who loved the boy say there was no denying the bond between Justin and his father.

"They adored each other," Michelle Klein, a worker at the daycare Justin attended said. "Justin was always excited to see his dad. When we told him his dad was there to pick him up, he'd run up the stairs all excited to see him. It was cute."

"He's a single dad," McNeill said. "You know they put a baby in his lap and said here you go, and he took it and ran with it."

Though Watson is struggling to heal from his loss, that hasn't stopped him from fighting for custody of the young baby boy he had with his former girlfriend. Family members tell KOLO 8 News Now they expect Watson to have full custody of the child by next week.

"Now that he'll have [him] full time, I think it will help with some healing," McNeill said.

McNeill also says her son is building Justin's urn.

"He wanted to do this on his own," she said. "This is what he does, this is his craft. He said 'this is for my son, and I want to make sure it's done how I want it done.'"

While thankful for the monetary help from his friends, Watson says what he needs now is something money can't buy.

"There's not a lot other than support and understanding that the community can give to me," he said.

The family says they are planning a celebration of life ceremony for some time in January. If you'd like to help the family, a fund has been set up at US Bank under the account name of Justin Michael Watson.