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A Gift For Baby Lily
A tearful tribute from a mountain community, 11 months after one of its littlest members was murdered.
Wednesday morning, the Marion Mayor, McDowell County Sheriff, about 20 law enforcement officers and about 30 others crowded into The Gingerbread House for abused children on the city's Main Street.
The Center dedicated its freshly-painted playroom to Lily Anne Kerr, who was 20 months old when police say her mother's boyfriend Christopher Edwards shook her to death.
Gingerbread House staff say the playroom is the spot that now feels safe and its where children who have been been brought in by law enforcement after being abused or witnessing violence can open up and begin to tell their story.
Anne Lombardi is Lily's grandmother and she has mobilized an effort to prevent other children from being abused by spreading her little girl's story.
She has launched a line of photography cards with proceeds going to the McDowell County Gingerbread House.
The center projects that it will see over 200 children this year its a significant jump from last year and quadruple the number of abused children seen five years ago.
Staff say the rising number of cases could be due to an economy adding to stress in families, or increased awareness - after cases like Lily's hit home.
To get involved with the cause for Lily Kerr, click here.
By: Ashelea Surles
Follow Ashlea on Twitter: @AshleaSurles