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A family dealing with unspeakable grief held a vigil Friday night for a baby they barely got to know

Photo by: Marty Lammers (grandfather)
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 02, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A balloon release, a moment of silence and a special song Friday night all for a 6-month-old baby whose body KCMO police found in woods last month.

"No death report. no 911 call," said Marty Lammers, the grandfather. "That's when it all kicked in and I started processing everything and piecing it all together."

Detectives connected DNA from the baby to its mother after the grandparents called police to say the baby found in the woods could be their granddaughter, according to a court document.

"When we couldn't get answers, when we kept asking about funeral arrangements and couldn't get a reply," Lammers said.

There's still crime scene tape at the memorial for the baby off Pittman Road in KCMO.

This was all unexpected to a family who thought they had more time to be grandparents.

"I only got to see her once in the 6 months, but the time I got to spend was special," Lammers said.

Bailey Keele is a family friend who knows that feeling of loss all too well and the struggle to hold onto memories.

"I lost my daughter in '21," Keele said. "She passed away in her sleep, so it's more child grief that I understand. I'm still going through it myself. Something told me to put my hand out and help. I couldn't even imagine as a mom any of the circumstances and I couldn't imagine on the family's side being broken in two different ways.

The family might be waiting for answers, but nothing stopped them from giving their baby the send off she deserved. Words failed, but music spoke for them.

"This song, "Precious Child," is exactly what I feel and the whole family feels. It's Kha'liya's song and it's going to stay with her."

They lean on each other for support as they wait for justice for their baby.

"I'm going to do everything I can to give her a lifetime of happiness in a single day and that's one of the most impossible things I can do for her," Lammers said.

No charges have been filed in this case.

KCPD couldn't confirm whether they have any persons of interest in this investigation.

Detectives are waiting on the autopsy to determine the cause of death.