DETROIT — Detroit loved ones of Ethan Belcher shed tears Saturday evening, huddled over each other, and lit candles as bright as their lost loved ones.
Ethan’s Aunt Ashley Belcher said; “I will miss the beautiful big smile he always gave me when I said ‘smile’ or took a picture of him. He loved pictures, he just loved being with his brother and showing how much they were together.” were happy.”
Showing off that big smile with a T-shirt reading “Justice for Ethan Belcher,” the 5-year-old’s aunt led a vigil Saturday held on Spring Garden Street, the same street Ethan was found dead inside a home.
To the crowd that gathered, Jennifer Skeens, Ethan’s great aunt said, “We are here to remember the little things that hold a special place in our hearts, to remember the happy moments.” When we laughed.”
Since Ethan’s heartbreaking passing, his aunts have been a power house, mourning him deeply and fighting passionately for his memory.
“He’s just a 5-year-old little boy who wanted to live life,” said Skeens. “And it was taken away by his parents in a very short period of time! That’s how bad his parents took him.” did so.”
Ethan was found dead on January 22 from physical abuse and torture.
His own mother and stepfather are now facing charges of murder, torture and child abuse.
Ethan’s aunt says she called child protective services more than a dozen times to report abuse involving Ethan and his 3-year-old brother, but caseworkers failed to keep the little boys safe.
Ashley Belcher said, “Every time I think about her little face I cringe, it’s hard to even talk about it.”
As these aunts mourn, they are also working with State Senator Jim Runnestad to provide more access to information for the media and state leaders to prevent tragedies like this, and greater oversight of CPS .
“We wanted to do something to help raise awareness for this poor kid,” said Ashley Belcher.
And they did.
Auntie says she knows Ethan is now safe in heaven, in the arms of his Grandma and Papa.
While they are still here, they will continue to fight to protect other bright little boys like Ethan.
“I’m hoping we can call child protective services,” Skeens said. “I hope they listen, and I hope they respond. I hope they’re able to remove kids from their homes when they’re abused. I hope so!”