CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) –“He didn’t die in vain and we’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen,” Steven Butler II, Steven Butler III’s dad, said.
This man is using tragedy to help others. He has to bury his son and he doesn’t want any other family to have to feel that pain.
Tonight, people gathered in Champaign for a memorial for a 14-year-old murder victim. Two bicyclists found Steven Butler’s body on Friday in Urbana. His father had reported him missing the night before. The suspect is in custody and facing murder charges.
Dozens of people were at Willis Park. Some may not have even known Butler, but they wanted to show their support.
The candlelight vigil began with a speaker from the Illinois Missing Persons Awareness Network. She talked about how angry and upset she was that something like this happened. Next, was Butler’s father, who said Butler was a loving, sweet kid. Lastly, Butler’s teacher spoke about how it was a joy to have Butler in her class. While the family is grieving, they also want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“This is the absolute most heart wrenching thing that I will ever, ever not want to hear or see,” Gia Wright, Illinois Missing Persons Awareness Network, said.
“He always just wanted his dad. He adored me and I adored him. He loved to learn from me and I was very, very fortunate and privileged to be the one to be able to be the man to teach him the things about life,” Butler said.
They hope to introduce Steven’s law, which could help in the search for missing children. They ended the memorial by releasing balloons. The family does have a GoFundMe set up, so far they have reached around $30,000.