By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was an emotional night for family, friends and neighbors who gathered Tuesday for a vigil to remember the life of 4-year-old Malachi Lawson.

Malachi was found dead in a dumpster in west Baltimore last week after he had been reported missing.

“He had a smile that I will never see again,” Jill Jackson, of Baltimore, said.

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Police said Malachi’s mother initially told them he was missing Aug. 1. The next day, search teams mobilized- but then, his mother allegedly confessed that Malachi was dead.

According to charging documents, Malachi’s mother Alicia Lawson and her partner, Shatika Lawson, told police Malachi received severe burns two weeks ago from his waist down to his feet after he was placed into a bathtub.

The women now face several charges including involuntary manslaughter.

“The worse thing that can happen to a family, our community, is the loss of a child,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said. “This affects us too, this is shocking to the conscience.”

At Tuesday’s vigil, Chertara Brown told WJZ Malachi’s mother is her God-Sister.

“When she reached out to me to ask me to help her look for him, I would have never thought,” Brown said.

Through her tears, she had a message for the little boy she loves.

“I want to remember Malachi,” Brown said. “This is what I am here for, to say that I love you Malachi and you weren’t trash. You mattered to the whole city and to me.”

Ava-joye Burnett


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