Police tape tapes were still strung across a field in east Kansas City as a few dozen people gathered Friday night to release balloons in memory of Kha’liya Bridgewater, who at 6 months old was found dead Mother’s Day weekend in the nearby wooded area.
Kha’liya’s uncle, Randall Lammers, 30, said he was moved by the crowd of a few dozen people who showed up to remember such a young life.
“She was loved. She was adored,” said Lammers, who has two young children of his own.
Robin Davis, 62, Kha’liya’s great-grandmother by marriage, said she was still “stunned”.
“It’s hard for us to understand that…we can’t get a clear enough answer from anyone to find out what the truth is, and we really want to know the truth,” she said.
On May 13, Kansas City police received a call about the body of a baby found decomposing in a field near a wooded area.
Police identified the victim on Thursday as Kha’liya. The case is still under investigation as police wait for the medical examiner to determine the cause of his death. The case is being filed as a death investigation, conducted by homicide detectives. No further information has been released.
“You can’t treat if you don’t know,” Kha’liya’s grandmother, Ruthann Hickman, 46, said at Friday’s vigil. “I just want to know. We’re just ready to start healing, and finding out what happened is part of that process.
According to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant, Kansas City detectives suspected Kha’liya may have died in an apartment several days before her body was dumped.
A witness told detectives the baby’s mother told them she woke up one day to find the child ‘blue in the face’, saying police and emergency services were called to the scene. apartment. She also asked for money to pay for a cremation.
Detectives said no report of the 6-month-old’s death was ever made.
Another witness reported a “horrible” smell coming from the woman’s apartment as early as late April.
Detectives have since interviewed Kha’liya’s mother, who first “denied ever having had a baby girl”, according to court documents, before saying she had.
The woman told police her daughter was last seen alive on May 4 at her apartment in the Squier Park area of the city. That night, she says, her boyfriend told her the baby was choking and he held her to his chest. She said he told her later that she was sleeping.
An hour later, she told detectives she found the baby with her eyes open and her arms crossed against her chest. She said she didn’t call 911 because her phone was broken, according to court documents. The next day, she said, she saw her boyfriend strapping the dead child into a car seat and driving off.
Kha’liya’s body was eventually found in a field with two kitchen trash bags under and around her legs, according to court records. A baby blanket and a small yellow headband lay on the floor nearby.
“We don’t know how to handle this. You know, you can’t run away from this, you can’t sleep. None of this is working,” said Lammers, Kha’liya’s uncle. “They say it’s getting easier, but that’s a lie. But we have to try for her.
At just six months old, she had so much life to live and hopefully will live it through us, in our own way.
The family created a GoFundMe to raise money for Kha’liya’s burial. On Friday night, he collected nearly $3,500 in donations.