Monday candlelight vigil planned to remember Dakota Levi Stevens

A resident of the Liberty Township subdivision the place Dakota Levi Stevens lived earlier than his demise is organizing a candlelight vigil in his reminiscence.

The vigil will start at 8 p.m. Monday on the park on the entrance of Eagle Ridge subdivision with audio system who knew Dakota, a pizza snack in honor of his favourite meals, and a candlelight stroll by means of the neighborhood, stated organizer Monica Jimenez.

Dakota, 10, died two days after what police have referred to as a “medical emergency” on April 25 on the foster dwelling within the 200 block of Falcon Way the place household and his former foster father imagine he had been for lower than per week.

The Porter County Sheriff’s Office has launched few particulars in regards to the investigation and an post-mortem report is just not anticipated for up to two months, in accordance to the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office.

In addition to residing in Eagle Ridge, Jiminez additionally was linked with Dakota’s former foster dad, Hayden Hetzel, by means of a former marriage to one among Hetzel’s kinfolk. She stays shut to Hetzel and his household.

Jimenez, who was engaged on April 25, the day Dakota was transported to Northwest Health-Porter, earlier than he died two days later at South Bend Memorial Hospital, stated she discovered about his demise from her daughter.

“The neighborhood is coming together for the vigil,” she stated, including a neighbor is donating the candles and a close-by enterprise is offering the pizza.

Jiminez is also working with the owners affiliation to discover a place, probably on the subdivision’s park, the place folks can go away mementos and different gadgets in Dakota’s reminiscence.

Hayden Hetzel, who was Dakota’s foster father for 2 years and tried twice to undertake him, and Logan Mills of Gary, who’s Dakota’s cousin, have stated Dakota and his youthful sister had been moved a number of instances between household and foster houses.

Additionally, Dakota frolicked in a psychological well being facility; his sister was adopted.

“He deserves justice,” Hetzel, of Hammond, has stated.

“Our entire staff is heartbroken by this news. DCS works with stakeholders and partners across the state to investigate the death of a child any time there is suspected abuse or neglect and will take the appropriate action,” Brian Heinemann, deputy director of communications for the Indiana Department of Child Services, stated in an e-mail Wednesday afternoon.

Heinemann didn’t reply to an e-mail from the Post-Tribune Thursday requesting additional data, together with how lengthy Dakota’s final placement had been a licensed foster mum or dad, the standing of the mum or dad’s license now, and whether or not there have been any reported points or considerations through the foster mum or dad’s time being licensed with the state.

With Dakota’s funeral on Monday, Jimenez stated, it’s “the perfect day” to prepare a memorial that’s open to the general public.

Dakota’s funeral begins with visitation from 9-10:30 a.m. Monday at Geisen Funeral Home, 606 E. 113th Ave., Crown Point, with the funeral to comply with at 10:30 a.m. Services are non-public.

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