"God's got my back, and he's been holding me up, making sure I don't fall."

Paul Likens Sr. plays it over and over again in his head, the final words he said to his child, Pauly Likens, before it all happened.

"I said 'I love you' and I'll give you a call when I get home Monday after work," Likens Sr. said.

As calls continually went unanswered, and as time kept passing, the horrible reality settled in. A long and dreaded search unfolded, uncovering the murder of the 14-year-old Mercer County teen.

Police ended up arresting the suspect, 29-year-old Dashawn Watkins, who is now behind bars.

"I knew but I still had that hope," Likens Sr. said.

It has been a story that has drawn attention and support on a local and national level.

"We got parking donated by the hospital for us to use," said Pamela Ladner, president of the LGBTQIA+ Alliance Shenango Valley.

Ladner has been very busy planning Pauly's vigil for Saturday, July 13, as the organization is expecting a large attendance. In addition to in-person support, a GoFundMe online has also significantly exceeded expectations, raising over $20,000.

"To not have to have that financial stress, I certainly think a lot of people can understand that," Ladner said.

Ladner continues to work hand-in-hand with the family to create a unforgettable legacy for Pauly this weekend.

"Just being able to be supportive to them in any capacity possible," Ladner said.

In response to Likens' death, lawmakers from The PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus released a statement:

“We mourn the death of Pauly Likens and refuse to stand idly by while LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians are targeted because of who they are. It’s unacceptable that current hate crime laws in our commonwealth are not applied to crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity."

“As incidents of violent hate crimes continue to rise across the nation, we urge our colleagues in the state Senate to pass H.B. 1027 and send it to the governor’s desk. It’s far past time to update Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute so that charges may reflect the especially heinous nature of hate-based violence.”

The full statement can be found here.