Following Daron's death each member of his family suffered serious long-term grief, that was at times debilitating. That grief continues, occasionally affecting physical and mental health. Personal and professional relationships have suffered. There have been many thoughts, problems and feelings too intense or too personal to describe here. Needless to say, Daron is thought of many times each day and night; their hearts will never heal completely nor will they ever forget.
Grief counselors have told Daron's family that losing a parent is like losing your past, that losing a spouse is like losing your present, but losing a child is like losing your future.
Sooner or later, we all have to give up our seat on life's bus, to make room for others. It's the natural order of things, the cycle of existence. But this death was incredibly wrong. The wheels on Daron's bus had barely started to turn; he hardly had time to go anywhere at all. And there were so many wonderful places he could have, would have enjoyed.
A member of Daron's family spoke eloquently at the sentencing of his murderer in April 2005. Here are some excerpts:
"Daron was a wonderful child; playful, helpful, affectionate, happy, healthy, and eager to learn about the world. His family, and many friends, loved him very much.
On November 10th, his short life - not much more than 100 weeks long - was ended in a senseless and amazing act of violence ... committed by someone who was a guest in his home.
Suddenly a source of great joy to all of us was gone, stolen from us. We never had a chance to protect or defend him. We ask "Why?" But it is a question with no answer.
The violent murder of a two-year old child is unthinkable. It represents a level of cruelty that goes beyond all imagination. We do not understand why this man chose to hurt Daron so grievously, but the fact is that he did. We are forced to live with the outcome of these events and Daron was forced to die.
We thought we had a lifetime to care for him, to guide him, to help him grow to be a good man. He was a person in the process of becoming. At just two years of age, he had a long way to go - but he was off to a very good start. Who knew that for Daron, a lifetime would be so incredibly short? He had a hundred different people working to help him build a good life - but one unbelievable act of violence defeated us all. Now all we have are sweet memories and daydreams about what would have been.
We should be teaching him his ABC's, and helping him learn to count to 10. Instead, we spent the winter giving away his clothes and his toys, and selecting a headstone for his grave.
We know too well that we are not the only parents and grandparents to ever lose a child, and that Daron is not the only child ever to die before having a chance to truly live. Sadly, we know from the news that we are not the last either, that other small children have died - some of them murdered - since Daron's death. We have an undesired common bond with other families of tragedy. We grieve for them, too, when we learn of their losses. There are far too many of us. We desperately hope that no other child and no other family will ever have to experience such a needless overwhelming tragedy and where little boys will always be allowed to grow up."