A little boy who prematurely lost his life was remembered on Thursday, on the eve of what would have been his seventh birthday.
In February, police found 6-year-old Elijah Dillard with extensive burns and head trauma, the apparent victim of child abuse.
He later died from those injuries at a local hospital.
"He was one of the best kids. He sang a lot, he was never bad, it was sad he got beat to death for no reason," said Londall Dillard, Elijah's cousin.
Elijah died earlier this year, in what police are calling a child abuse related homicide.
Friday would have been his seventh birthday, so family and friends celebrated his life on Thursday.
"We also are celebrating six other children's birthdays today. We wanted it to be a community event as we grow together with one goal, which is stopping child abuse," said Omarr Dillard, Elijah's uncle.
He said planning the birthday party was an emotional experience, but he said this is how Elijah would have wanted to celebrate.
"It's something that has to be done. It's something that we can't forget. We want his name to live forever," Omarr Dillard said.
The celebration of Elijah's life doesn't stop at the birthday party. His family has also created youth basketball and dance teams in his honor for local kids to participate in.
Elijah's family said they plan to keep his memory alive by continuing to support other kids in the community.
His mother has been charged with child abuse and her husband Aki Dillard is charged with first-degree murder.
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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