Updated: 01/11/2014 10:31 PM |
Created: 01/11/2014 10:14 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Family and friends are still mourning the loss of nine-year-old Omaree Varela, who died on December 27.
Police say he was killed by his own mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus, after she kicked him and he hit his head.
Police say she had a history of abuse at her home. Saturday, classmates, teachers and family members held a vigil in his honor.
It was both a celebration of his life, and a call to action.
There were prayers and there were tears, but there was no moment of silence.
“Silence, silence makes you an abuser. Report it! What happened with Omaree...it can be prevented,” an advocate said.
The night was more than a candle-lit memorial; it was a call to action by the smiling, wide-eyed nine year old’s teachers, classmates and family.
“I was with Omaree a couple of days before his death,” Omaree’s uncle Dante Padilla said. “I was with Omaree when he was 2 years old... Omaree's my little dude. This is my guy.”
Omaree’s uncle announced “The Omaree Foundation”—a campaign to end child abuse in New Mexico.
“I know for sure his dream is with us and all of us and everybody here. God bless us all. Let’s stick together,” Padilla said.
In the coming weeks, there are plans to contact state officials, to speak to students at their schools and to encourage witnesses to report abuse. In the coming months, the focus will be on lighting a path of hope for other abused children. Saturday, though, was for Omaree.
It was a chance for other children to say farewell to their friend, and a way for those who knew him to let some of the pain go.
People were there for half an hour after the vigil vowing to help with a child abuse awareness march in April. To get involved, visit http://on.fb.me/KVQ6wp