Family, friends gather in Detroit to remember 5-year-old killed in case of child abuse

Ethan Belcher was killed on Jan. 22

DETROIT – A vigil was held for the 5-year-old Detroit boy who died in the child abuse case that’s led to calls for change.

Family and friends gathered Saturday outside the Detroit house where police say Ethan Belcher was killed on Jan. 22.

“He hasn’t even been laid to rest yet,” Ethan’s aunt, Ashley Belcher, said. “We haven’t had our closure yet either.”

Ethan’s mom and stepdad have been charged with murder, child abuse and torture in his death.

The troubling child abuse case has gotten the attention of lawmakers in Lansing, as the family wants to know how this could have happened after they reported the abuse to police and CPS a year earlier.

Read: Deadly abuse of 5-year-old boy has Michigan senator working to change CPS information law

During the vigil, Ethan’s great-aunt, Jennifer Skeens, shared an emotional message.

“Ethan, you will always live in all of our hearts forever and we will all fight for you to have change for all kids so that no other child has to be abused and go through what you went through,” Skeens said. “No child deserves that. We will fight for change so all children will be safe in their own homes. God bless you, Ethan.”

There is a GoFundMe page for the family to cover funeral expenses for Ethan. If you would like to donate to the fundraiser, click here.

Additional coverage:

Also: ‘A house of terror’: What officials are saying about CPS after 5-year-old was killed in Detroit

About the Author:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.