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Raleigh Vigil Remembers Victims Of Child Abuse

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RALEIGH — A vigil is being held on the lawn of the Capitol Friday to memorialize those children who were murdered in North Carolina last year. Each case is recalled and details of their deaths revealed. Every 30 minutes a candle is lit in memory of one of the children.

The vigil is raising awareness about child abuse and teaching us how we can help prevent it.

One child remembered was Angel, an 8-year-old who was killed in Pitt County.

"One day, he was found stabbed and strangled in a bathtub in his home. One can only guess what the motive was or what happened, and we wonder, as many 8-year-olds bring much frustration as well as much joy to our lives," said Kate Peterson of the Methodist Home For Children.

"And it's because of kids like Angel that we do this work. We have seen over 100 years in our work the violence and abuse and pain that's caused when families disrupt, when parents don't understand and don't have good skills in being parents and the toll that takes on a child," said Bert Armstrong of the Methodist Home For Children.

C.J. Wilkerson was abducted and was missing for 17 days. His body was found in a suitcase near Garner after an extensive search. C.J. was 8 years old.

Another child, Justin, was 2 years old.

"Officially, Justin died as a result of brain injury from child abuse," said Sandy Bundegard of Family Services.

The vigil makes a strong point -- these children were not murdered by strangers. Their parents or their guardians killed them.

"It's a good time for us to step back and say violence of any kind is not acceptable. And a lot of this violence starts in our own families and that's where it needs to stop," said Jennifer Tolle of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Various speakers will talk Friday remembering the children who have been murdered. The vigil will continue until around midnight.

The vigil is held every year at about this time.