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Family members gather for second time this week to remember 4-year-old Baltimore boy, announce funeral plans

Family members gather for second time this week to remember 4-year-old Baltimore boy, announce funeral plans
Family and friends of Malachi Lawson release balloons in honor of his memory at a vigil on Spring Street in East Baltimore. (Barbara Taylor)

Family for the 4-year-old Baltimore boy who was found dead in a dumpster this past weekend gathered for the second time this week on Friday night to release balloons in his memory and to tell others about the funeral next week.

Marquetta VanDyke stood outside her home in the 3400 block of BelAir Rd., just after 6 p.m. She had placed a photo of her godson Malachi Lawson, and balloons, on a telephone pole and sat a lit candle at the base of it to remember the little boy.

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Malachi’s godmother stood in a semi-circle with other family, praying for the boy and recounted memories of “fly guy.” It was VanDyke’s nickname for Malachi because he was “always dressed up and always had his hair done.”

Marquetta VanDyke, godmother of Malachi Lawson, stands near a picture of him that she taped to a pole near her home on Belair Road.
Marquetta VanDyke, godmother of Malachi Lawson, stands near a picture of him that she taped to a pole near her home on Belair Road. (Barbara Taylor)

The little boy was initially reported missing on Aug. 2, and his body was found the next day in a dumpster with burns from a scalding bath that had gone untreated for days, according to police.

Malachi’s mother, Alicia Lawson, and her spouse, Shatika Lawson, have been charged with nearly a dozen crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, child abuse, assault, reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and giving false statements. They are being held without bail.

According to charging documents, Malachi was burned in a bath, but the women did not seek medical care for him “due to fear that the child would be taken from them, that they would get in trouble for what happened to the child and their past history with child protective services.”

An hour after VanDyke’s prayer circle, more family held a candlelight vigil and balloon release in the 1800 block of N. Spring St., where Malachi lived. His godmother said she was too emotional to attend.

Red and white balloons went soaring into the air with tears streaming down many faces as almost 30 people yelled “we love you Malachi!”

“We wanted to have this celebration of life so Malachi can play and rest in peace,” a cousin said right before everyone let go of the balloons.

Malachi’s grandmother, Earline Code, was there to remember her grandson and thank everyone for their help in planning and donating to the funeral.

Code and other family members said services for Malachi will be Tuesday, Aug. 13 at Woodlawn Cemetery at 2130 Woodlawn Dr. They expect it to be open to the public and more details, including a time, should be released by the end of the weekend.

“He was a happy, happy little baby,” Code said. " He was well loved by everyone."

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