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Memorial Service Held For 12-Year-Old Killed By Fallen Tree At Summer Camp

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Family and friends laid to rest a little boy killed suddenly by a fallen tree when a freak storm ripped through a Carroll County summer camp.

Derek Valcourt has more on the remembrance for a little boy who only had 12 short years.

Pastors say it’s hard to make sense of this tragedy. While many know the little boy by the heartbreaking circumstances of his death, his friends and family are remembering him for how he lived.

The casket carrying Justin Diggs emerged from New Psalmist Baptist Church, followed by his mother, Antoinette, and the rest of his devastated family and friends.

“It just makes my heart flutter,” said family friend Pam Nelson.

Their faith is consoling them one week after a sudden storm at River Valley Ranch Camp in Carroll County claimed the 12-year-old’s life. Justin was with more than 100 other kids between the ages of seven and 12 being led to shelter after strong storm winds interrupted their Bible study session at an outdoor pavilion.

Trees began to topple, injuring a total of nine children. Only Justin did not survive. The woods at the camp are now an eerie reminder of the tragedy.

“Looking at that area, the last memory a lot of us have is not kids screaming out in laughter and having fun but screaming out in terror and it will take a while to get over it,” said John Zeigenfuse, River Valley Ranch.

At his funeral, family and friends reflected on his big smile, his love of swimming and the outdoors and his helping nature.

“None of us know how much time we have but Justin lived his life as if he was trying to leave a message that you always bring the best, you always see the best and you always do the best,” said Bishop Thomas.

His mother released a statement saying, “Justin was the light of my life and a light to everyone who knew him. I want to thank…the entire community for their overwhelming support. It has carried me through a very difficult time.”

Diggs was laid to rest at Druid Ridge Memorial Cemetery in Pikesville.

State health officials say there’s no record of problems at the summer camp where Justin Diggs died but they will be conducting a follow-up review of the camp facility’s safety plans.

River Valley Ranch and Diggs’ friends are raising money to celebrate his life and legacy. All funds will go directly to his mother. To make a donation, click here.

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