By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family is dealing with unthinkable pain after they laid their little boy to rest Friday.

Chase Peterson, 2, was found unconscious in a hot tub last weekend.

“I called his name a few times, and he didn’t respond,” recalled Brett Peterson, Chase’s dad.

After a birthday party at an Edina condominium complex, Brett Peterson and his wife, Mandy were ready to take their son home for his nap.

The side door leading to the pool area was supposed to be locked but wasn’t. Chase got into the hot tub.

“Even as I approached, I couldn’t see him,” recalled Brett Peterson. “(When) I saw him and pulled him out — just screamed for help.”

Chase was unconscious. He was rushed to two hospitals and died the next day.

“We’re grieving. We’re weeping. We’re crying. We’re doing all those things, but we’re not hopeless. We’re not without hope,” said Chase’s dad.

His parents describe Chase as a little boy who loved music and dancing. He had an infectious smile and loved to cuddle.

“Despite what it might look like here on Earth, we believe that Chase is in heaven and that just gives us great hope,” said Brett Peterson.

Since the tragedy, the Peterson’s have found comfort from friends and family. They’ve also found comfort from their entire community.

On the way to Chase’s funeral, they drove by thousands of balloons put up by neighbors and strangers throughout Southwest Minneapolis and Edina. Red balloons, bunched in sets of two, representing Chase’s age and the color of his hair.

“The idea of balloons … he loved balloons,” said Mandy Peterson. “He was a red-head, so his curly red hair shines.”

It was a comforting sight for Chase’s parents and the rest of their family to see a little boy honored that way.

“We want people to celebrate that Chase had a great two years and was a wonderful little boy,” said Brett Peterson.

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