A candlelight vigil was held on Monday, May 8, 2023, for "Baby Ezekiel," the Great Falls infant who was killed in Great Falls on Friday, April 21, 2023.
The mother of Ezekiel, 20-year old Whisper Rayne Hawkbear, has been charged with killing him, and also seriously injuring her toddler daughter, at an apartment in the Rockcress Commons complex.
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said an autopsy determined the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
Toby's House Crisis Nursery supported a "generous community member" who organized the vigil, which was held at Vineyard Church (1617 Sixth Avenue North).
A generous community member is hosting a candlelight vigil for Baby Ezekiel. Baby Ezekiel sustained severe injuries from abuse that took his life too soon. We will gather to mourn and come together as a community to heal and help with closure. Toby’s House Crisis Nursery will be offering support and answering questions about our services. Originally this vigil was to take place at Gibson Park. It has been moved to Vineyard Church.
Family members have created a GoFundMe: "We are asking for help to bring him home to California where he can be laid to rest. All funds will be used for travel to Montana to bring our sweet baby boy home and give him the proper funeral services." Click here if you would like to donate.
Toby’s House was created in honor of October "Toby" Perez, a two-year-old girl who died at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend in 2011.
The crisis nursery provides short-term care for children voluntarily brought there by a parent or legal guardian.
There are many reasons why people utilize a crisis nursery for temporary child care or respite, including:
- There is not a safe place for a child to stay while resolving personal issues
- Someone is not capable of taking care of their child as they would like
- An important appointment but no one safe to leave a child with
- When stress and life’s problems are becoming too much to tolerate and could result in taking it out on a child or when someone feels they are losing control
- Medical emergencies where a care-giver needs immediate assistance with temporary childcare
- Mental health, substance abuse crisis
- Foster care parent respite
The services provided by Toby’s House Crisis Nursery are free and require no qualifications to use. To learn more about Toby's House, or to volunteer or donate, click here to visit the website, or click here to visit the Facebook page. You can also call 406-770-3191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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