A few hours later a second redwood tree fell on the family's house and killed their cat, Leo, one of the toddler's favorite pets.
As a bomb-cyclone battered parts of California on January 4, Wednesday night, Bonnie Needels was at her house on a ridge above Occidental shortly after nightfall when she heard a huge boom that shook her house followed by requests for help. She heard the sound of a grieving mother crying out over the commotion of the storm. Dan and Aisha Tocchini and their 2-year-old son Aeon lived in a double-wide trailer next door that had been struck by a large redwood tree that had split in two, per LA Times.
Dan was nearby but gasped in horror as the tree crashed into the house right over where his son Aeon was seated on a couch, trapping and killing him. Aisha was walking toward the house as she had just returned home from her job as a horse trainer. “I just saw the tree fall,” she said, visibly emotional at the loss.
The Tocchinis’ son, whom they called “Goldie,” brought “so much joy and happiness to everybody,” according to his grandmother Aileen Tocchini. “His life was a shining light,” she said, collapsing into tears.
Aeon's aunt Liz Haskins set up a GoFundMe page, and more than $253,000 has been raised for the family's support and burial expenses, as of Monday. “Aeon, my beautiful baby nephew was also known as, 'Goldie' to our family. You can say it was because of his beautiful blond hair, I say it was because he shined like the sun! If you ever had the joy of meeting Goldie, you would know the light that I speak of,” the loving aunt wrote, adding, “His light still shines so brightly in our hearts, and always will.”
The grieving aunt continued, adding that “Goldie loved to dance, music moved his soul. He was kind, gentle, and had the most loving spirit. He loved the outdoors like his mama and his daddy was his hero. He was deeply adored by his family and he instantly stole the hearts of those around him.”
According to Ron Lunardi, the fire chief in Occidental, the incident happened on Wednesday evening. The call was made at 5.14 pm. Occidental is located about 70 miles northwest of San Francisco in Sonoma County. After fire officials unsuccessfully attempted CPR, the toddler was pronounced deceased at 5.48 pm. “One of the major incidents we’ve had involved a redwood tree falling on a house … and we had a fatality up there of a minor -- infant, actually. A one-to-two-year-old infant.” Lunardi said in an interview, per ABC News. No one else in Aeon's family was injured when the trees collapses during the severe storms, per PEOPLE. However, a few hours later, a second redwood tree fell on the family's house and killed their cat, Leo, one of the toddler's favorite pets.
Aeon Tocchini, 2, was killed by a large redwood in Occidental. His cat, Lio, died when a second tree fell on the family’s mobile home pic.twitter.com/hzAr5EnuyO— Evan Sernoffsky (@EvanSernoffsky) January 5, 2023
“My brother has not only lost his precious son but also lost his home. Three redwood trees fell on his house and his truck during the storm. I ask that you please consider blessing my brother and his family while they walk through this horrific tragedy.” The GoFundMe page added that the “contributions will sow into a new home, and a new vehicle, and they will go to supporting a family while they grieve their youngest son. Any funds contributed will go to the funeral costs to honor and celebrate Aeon's life. They will also help rebuild a young family.”
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe