Community mourns slain toddler

2013-05-14T22:26:00Z 2014-01-17T13:43:26Z Community mourns slain toddlerLUKE FEUERHERM Journal Times

RACINE — Hundreds flocked to the 1500 block of Superior Street Tuesday night to honor the 3-year-old boy who died tragically last week in Racine County.

Signs, ribbons and heavy hearts were on display at a vigil held for Hunter Wise, whose death is considered a homicide by police and prosecutors. And “unbelievable” was the word that came to the minds of several in attendance when speaking about the untimely death of a boy described as “a little bundle of energy and love.”

“You guys have no idea how much this means to me,” Hunter’s father Joseph Wise told the crowd. “My son was my life. He was everything to me and I did everything for that boy.”

Speaking from the porch of the Superior Street home of Jenni Wise, Hunter’s grandmother, family members spoke to the crowd that filled the street that was blocked off by Racine Police Department squad cars.

“He was just a little bundle of energy and love,” said Hunter’s great-grandmother, Ginny Nelson, who helped care for the boy. “He loved everybody and was always ready to hug and love everybody.”

Hunter was pronounced dead last Friday at Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St., in Racine.

Police had originally responded to a report of an unresponsive child at a home in the 1500 block of Bryn Mawr Avenue, where Marcus A. Johnson, 26, was allegedly watching the boy.

Johnson was arrested later that day and charged Monday with first-degree intentional homicide, accused by Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete of torturing the boy.

“It just breaks my heart thinking about it,” said Alyssa Mierow, 21, of Racine, a friend of Hunter’s father. “I have a 10-month-old of my own and I just could not even begin to come up with any type of words to say to him.”

Speaking from the balcony Tuesday, a family member directly addressed the alleged abuse and urged the crowd to report signs of abuse they may see in the future in their own lives.

Amid tears, Hunter’s mother Samantha Rush told the crowd, “We all have to remember he’s in a better place now.”

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