Local News

Child Abuse Victims Remembered with Vigil

Posted September 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— In Raleigh this weekend, hundreds will honor children who died at the hands of abusers. Child advocates are holding a 45-hour vigil to remember the children who died violently in North Carolina last year. People surrounding the NC State University belltower are calling on all of us to do something to prevent the death of another child.

It is a list of unspeakable horrors: starvation, poison and fire. That's how 45 children were murdered in North Carolina last year.

Ilene Nelson, a child advocate, spoke before the vigil Friday. She accepted a collective responsibility for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them and who watch their parents watch them die.

Tiny t-shirts are a reminder of the fragile bodies battered and broken. There are candles with the names of 45 children who died too young.

Elizabeth Warren of Prevent Child Abuse in North Carolina says the purpose of the event is to honor the chldren who have died, to remember them and let the community grieve over their loss.

On October 7, 1996, Zachary was admitted to the hospital with critical head wounds. Jamie Robertson's son Zachary died in October of 1996. His aunt and her boyfriend are charged with murder.

Robertson couldn't hold back her emotions as she remembered her son.

"Never again will his mother be able to see his blue eyes shining with laughter, never feel his arms around his neck, and never again hear his little voice say 'Mommy, I love you.'"

Zachary's candle is the first of 45 that will be lit over the next 45 hours. In addition to the candles, a tree will be planted in memory of each child. It's just another way to make sure these children are not forgotten.