Community vigil honors 3 friends who died at Michigan’s Faster Horses Festival

Police say victims killed by carbon monoxide exposure; 2 other people in critical condition

Vigil honors three friends who died at Michigan's Faster Horses Festival
Vigil honors three friends who died at Michigan's Faster Horses Festival

MICHIGAN CENTER, Mich. – An entire community came together on Monday to honor three people who died at Michigan’s Faster Horses Festival.

The three people were identified as Dawson Brown, 20, of Michigan Center; Kole Sova, 19, of Jackson; and William “Richie” Mays Jr., 20, of Jackson.

“My brother and I were so close, he mean the world to me. I just wish he was here a little longer and I love him a lot,” said Richie’s sister, Ryli Mays.

An emotional vigil was held on the football field at Michigan Center High School, where the men trained and played together for years.

Read: Police identify 3 killed, 2 hurt by carbon monoxide poisoning at Michigan’s Faster Horses Festival

“All the blood, sweat and tears we put into weight room ... It leaves you speechless. It’s been a rough couple of days,” said Richie’s cousin, Travis Manke.

The three men were lifelong friends.

“They were closer than close, so tight knit, they would do anything for anyone. They were the coolest group of guys ever,” Ryli Mays said.

Two other young men, including a teammate, were critically injured. The group was planning to stay in a trailer on the campgrounds of Michigan’s Faster Horses Festival in Woodstock Township. Richie and Kole’s mothers had traveled with the group Friday.

The mothers left hours later but became worried when the men stopped returning texts. Saturday afternoon Lenawee County Deputies found the group unresponsive Saturday afternoon due to carbon monoxide exposure.

“It’s tragic, haven’t wrapped head around it,” Manke said.

On Monday night, there was a powerful show of support and love for an entire community, grappling with the tragedy.

“I don’t think we expected anything like this and it’s really awesome to see,” Ryli Mays said.

“Its amazing to see everyone come together like this. These three boys had huge impact on all of us and even if you didn’t know them and knew of them, they were something special to you,” said childhood friend, Amanda Zaborowski.

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About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism