By Wendy Osher
A silent vigil will be held in Wailuku today for a Maui boy who died last week in a suspected case of abuse.
Four year old Zion McKeown was taken to the hospital last week after being found unresponsive. He died the next day with an autopsy showing blunt force trauma to his abdomen.
Zion’s father Kyle McKeown, and his live-in girlfriend, Grace Lee-Nakamoto, were charged with second-degree murder in connection to the incident, but were released on their own recognizance until a preliminary hearing next month.
Today’s vigil is hosted by Imua Family Services and Women Helping Women. The procession will start at 4 p.m. at the Weinberg Building in Wailuku, and proceed up Main Street to the Court House on High Street, where a moment of silence will be observed in Zion’s memory.
“Together our agencies are calling for the public to help us remember the life of Zion, and peacefully protest acts of violence towards our island’s keiki,” said Imua Family Services Executive Director, Dean Wong in a media statement.
Fellow organizer, Stacey Moniz, who is the Executive Director at Women Helping Women said, “In Maui County no child should suffer this kind of brutality, this or any kind of violence, people need to know there are options for safety, there is shelter from violence, but it takes us as adults to take a stand for our children and to be their voice, our goal is to make every home a safe home.”
Leadership from both agencies said they were shocked, saddened and deeply grieved by the boy’s death.
“Imua’s staff work every day with children who suffer trauma that results in developmental delays, many times the trauma’s may be that children are witness to, or a part of domestic violence in their own homes, what has happened here with Zion is tragic and our worst nightmare,” said Wong, “we are deeply moved.”