CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - In a Monday night vigil, Steven Butler's dad talked about the pain of a father pushing for his son's death to be part of a greater purpose.
"Hopefully this brings change in that another child don't (have to) die, you know, if that's my sons legacy, he didn't die in vain," He said.
Hundreds gathered for a vigil for 14-year old Steven Butler III, a Champaign boy who officials said was murdered. His body was found in a ditch Friday.
The vigil served to honor his life and remember all the ways Steven was a unique teen. Steven was kind, creative, loving, smart, and most of all, he was the cause of much laughter in every room.
"He immediately wanted to hug me, when he saw me. He had to hug his dad. Many times a day. He was the class clown but in a good way. He always brought laughter into the room into the classroom, he always brought laughter into even hard moments and the family." April Vish, Steven's aunt, told WAND News.
Steven always helped his dad with his siblings and always wanted to learn from his dad. His aunt said Steven's dad was his hero.
"He helped dad with them all the time because dad is a single dad, and he was always the big helper in the house with the little kids," Vish said.
Community members brought gifts for Steven's siblings and family such as cards, flowers, teddy bears and letters. They listened to family and the founder of the Missing Persons Awareness Network speak about moving forward with a law to ensure other kids do not die young.
"We talked about something called Steven's law that any child under 18, is to be listed as endangered and treated as endangered," said Gia Wright, the founder of Missing Persons Awareness Network. "If we knew sooner, maybe we could have saved him."
The Missing Persons Awareness Network said the family needs money for Steven's funeral services. A person bring it directly or donate to this GoFundMe.
A person can also help the family by signing up to volunteer to provide the family with a meal throughout the week.
"Together with the family, we want to ask for change," said the Missing Persons Awareness Network. "It is time that the law makers of Illinois join us in doing what it takes to prevent the killing of our children with whatever it takes. Only our law makers can make these changes."
- Suspects in Decatur murder investigation arrested; 1 still sought by police
- One teen dead and one injured in early morning shooting in Decatur
- Coroner: Body of missing ISU student Jelani Day has been identified
- Police: Backseat car passengers fired shots in deadly Decatur shooting
- Coroner releases identity of body found in Clinton Lake
- 3 people shot while driving on Garfield Overpass with children present in vehicle
- Jelani Day's sisters plead to raise awareness for missing ISU student
- Family of missing ISU student continues search
- Pritzker announces Boeing to invest $200 million to build New U.S. Navy Aircraft and Facility
- Deputies: Man stabbed wife, himself in Decatur