Memorial For Abused And Neglected Children

Dozens of people gathered Thursday in Winchester to remember two young lives cut tragically short.

Ten-year-old Michaela Watkins was beaten and burned. Her father and step mother are charged in her death.

Six-year-old Wesley Mullins' body was found last summer in his grandfather's garage. Family friend Louis "Buck" Ballard is accused of murder.

In all, 26 Kentucky children lost their lives last year due to child abuse or neglect, but the minister who addressed the crowd in front of the Clark County courthouse told them numbers are not what's important.

Reverend Samuel Peoples says, "The two in Winchester was too many.
There should never be any stats on something as horrendous at child abuse. To read off numbers is ridiculous when it should never occur.
And if we could reach out and help families who can't provide, families that are frustrated and take it out on their children, we could point them in the direction where they can get the help they need."

Family resource centers across Kentucky help with education not just during April, which is is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, but year round.

Memorial organizer Rosalinda Gay of Strode Station Family Resource Center says, "We have lots of parenting classes through the family and youth service centers that help parents find out what they can do when they're stressed, what they do when they feel the need to talk to someone."

Among the other participants in the memorial service was Wesley Mullins' kindergarten teacher, Amy Reece, who told 27 NEWSFIRST, "We know that his spirit will always be with us, and I try to think of him every day to help me with my patience toward the kids in my class, and he's definitely a little angel."

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