98. That’s the number of reported child abuse cases in Sedgwick County in the last four months.
Of that number, we have seen several toddlers die after being abused by their parent or another member of the household.
Community members say, they are sick of a problem that seems to be growing.
“After DCF was forced to release Evan Brewer’s child abuse reports, we’ve seen proof that a child is dying every 26 days,” said Shayla Johnston, Evan Brewer’s aunt.
The mother of Tony Bunn, the toddler who died this weekend, and her boyfriend Lucas Diel had their first court appearance today. They were both charged with first-degree murder, and they are both being held on $250,000 bonds.
This latest death has one local group rallying around child abuse awareness.
“Our niece Emma was murdered in 2014,” said Tiffany Rufe. “Our community came out strong and helped to pay for the funeral costs which was a huge help.”
This kindness inspired Rufe and her family to pay it forward.
“We put together Emma’s Army,” said Rufe. “When a child is murdered, we’ll meet with the family, take them food and organize fundraisers for funeral expenses. That’s our pay it forward.”
With the number of recent deaths, Emma’s Army says they are ready to suit up to rally the community for child abuse awareness and this time, they are doing it with a bike ride through Wichita.
“We will go by the house where Tony was murdered, by the victim’s memorial site in Riverside, loop around the county jail, go to Boston Park where Wichita police have concentrated their search for Lucas, Falcon Point where Emma was murdered and the house where Evan was murdered,” explained Rufe.
The bike ride for awareness is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Autozone located at 425 N. West and ends at Champs Bar and Grill. All community members are welcome to attend.