A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tragic death of one-year-old Henry Anderson, whose foster mother, Kellie Anderson, has been charged in his murder.
Henry arrived at a hospital in Fargo, North Dakota after Kellie drove him there from their home in Barnesville, Minnesota. Doctors were immediately suspicious of Kellie’s story that Henry had suffered a seizure after self-inflicting several injuries, including bruises on his back and side, a bump on his head, a cut inside his lip, numerous bruises to his head and face, and a deep laceration to his penis. Opining that these injuries could not have been self-inflicted by a one-year-old baby, medical staff summoned the Barnesville Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department to the scene.
Based on Henry’s 82 degree body temperature upon arrival at the hospital, investigators believe he had been dead for up to 40 minutes prior to arriving in the emergency room. Henry was pronounced dead on April 23, 2020. An autopsy revealed that Henry’s manner of death was homicide likely caused by asphyxia associated with blunt force trauma.
Kellie, a registered nurse, was initially arrested on a charge of felony criminal neglect, but the charge was upgraded a few days later to second-degree murder with intent. Her foster care license has been removed. Her husband, Kyle, who is a biological relative of Henry, disputed her version of events. He has not been charged.
Now, Henry’s family is raising funds to build a toddler park in his honor in Wendell, Minnesota, a town of less than 200 people, where his grandparents, who run a restaurant, made sure everyone in town knew their adorable grandson.
Henry’s young cousin, Kira Lohse, told a WDAY reporter, “He’s our little boy. We love him. We’ll miss him.”
Katie Anderson, Henry’s aunt, added, “It only happens to other people. You read about it; here you are. It’s real and happened to our family.”
The family misses Henry’s wild, curly blond hair and joyful demeanor. Another cousin, Sarah Lohse, said Henry was “very curious, very loving, always smiling.”
To honor and remember Henry and to share his joy with other children, the family is planning to build a toddler park in Wendell, which is full of young families. The park will feature spring-loaded bounce toys, a teeter-totter, and small swings. They feel the good times children will have at the park will never make the pain of Henry’s loss go away, but it will help them with their grieving process to watch other small children smile like Henry did.
What is the purpose of the park? Sarah Lohse explained, “Have fun, be safe, and remember our little Henry.”
On the family’s GoFundMe page, they wrote: “Henry was a vibrant boy, full of life and he had a smile that lit up a room. Henry spent a lot of time with his Grandma Kayla who loved him so much. Henry was a sweet and happy little boy who touched so many hearts… This fundraiser means a lot to our family and Grandma Kayla. Henry was a special little boy and his extended family were a big part of his life.”
As of this writing, the campaign has raised $5,485 of its $7,500 goal. To donate toward the park’s construction, you can visit the family’s GoFundMe page.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Henry’s case.
Sources: Inforum.com, GoFundMe