WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - The young child who died after being left in a hot daycare van was honored with a flag-raising ceremony at the Child Advocacy Center in West Memphis, Arkansas on Friday.
The flag honors Christopher Gardner, who was left inside an Ascent Children's Health Services van in June. Wearing "Long Live Christopher" t-shirts, the family of the 5-year-old gathered at West Memphis Police Department to keep his memory alive.
"I had hoped that maybe this day wouldn't come for this community," said Lori Deshazo, who works at the Child Advocacy Center of Eastern Arkansas. "We want to honor the life of a little boy who should still be with us today ... We want his friends and his family to know that his life mattered," Deshazo said.
West Memphis Police Captain Joe Baker also gave a brief update on the criminal case.
"To show exactly how this would be nearly impossible, if you were paying attention, to miss this child where he was seated in the van," Baker said.
Four Ascent Children's Health Services employees are charged with manslaughter, but none have entered a plea yet.
In the meantime, investigators are using a life-sized mannequin to re-create the scene in that hot van. It is their hope that it calls to attention how, if someone had been paying attention, Gardner's life could've been saved.
After a moment of silence, the flag was raised for 5-year-old Christopher. It will fly in his honor for the next week.