NORFOLK, Va. – Writing messages on rocks, blowing bubbles and donating money to help the family of a 2-year-old girl who was killed last Tuesday. The Ocean View Community wanted to send a message to Harley Rae’s family, who aren’t from Hampton Roads.
“I wrote on the rock, ‘Fly high, beautiful,'” said Erin Ferguson, who knew Harley’s mom and mom’s boyfriend.
Police say they were called to the home on 20th Bay Street in the Ocean View section of the city around 3:30 last Tuesday morning.They say the child had burns all over her body. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Shelby Love, the mom, and John Hardee, the mom’s boyfriend, are charged with felony child abuse. Hardee was also charged with aggravated malicious wounding Wednesday.
Organizers from the vigil said they wanted to raise awareness about child abuse prevention and asked those in attendance to wear navy blue. They asked the community to sign a petition to help implement a law where those who commit crimes against children have to register like sex offenders do.
“It might prevent something from happening to at least one more child,” said Shannon Hawkins, who helped organize the vigil.
It was an emotional night, especially during the moment of silence.
“It’s hard to think anybody you know could do something like this and we all have children, so if it was one of our children we would want the same support,” said Faith Gonse, who said she knew Hardee.
However, the community is hoping this vigil – along with the rocks, banners and messages – is something the family can remember.
“They’ll be able to look back and know that Norfolk, Virginia, is not just a place of sadness for them. They’ll know we came together as a community and did something and we want to let them know we care,” said Hawkins.