(GREENSBURG) - Family, friends and advocates to end child abuse came together Saturday to mourn the loss of a 12-year-old boy and to raise awareness about what the community can do to prevent similar tragedies.
Devin Parsons was beaten to death in his Greensburg home in June 2011. His mother and her boyfriend are facing murder charges.
"I don't have any words for it," said Bob Parsons, the boy's great uncle. "He was full of life, wanting to run and play and have a good time and everything, and it's a shame the events took that away."
Dozens of people gathered at Greensburg's North Park to mark April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
The event featured speeches from Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, New Directions of Decatur County and Decatur County 4 Kids, some who expressed frustration at a system that doesn't always work.
Margaret Lowe, program director for New Directions, a domestic violence prevention group, spoke directly to Devin Parsons.
"The people who tried to help you faced a brick wall when they tried to make your life better," Lowe said to the crowd. "We do have laws that protect children like you, but some of those laws need to be better."
The group released blue balloons and clutched blue pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
They hope to send a message to all Hoosiers.
"If you see it, if you hear it, call it in," Bob Parsons said.
"If you see something, if you're concerned, step in and offer a hand," said Terri Ann Albrecht of Decatur County 4 Kids, a child abuse prevention agency. "I'm the mom of a preschooler, and someone just saying, 'Do you need help for a half hour?' can make a world of difference in your stress level."
But Albrecht and Parsons stressed that Hoosiers should not depend on the state to keep children safe in your community.
"I don't think any responsible citizen should expect the government to be the one to raise our children or solve these problems," Albrecht said. "These are our issues, as individuals and as communities."
The DCS Child Abuse Hotline is 800-800-5556.
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