VIDEO: Balloon launch outside Allen County Courthouse marks homicide victim Malakai Garrett’s 3rd birthday
More than two dozen people gathered in below-freezing temperatures Tuesday night to remember a little boy some of them didn’t even know.
Mylar balloons, in Malakai Garrett’s favorite color of red, lifted into the night sky, collecting shimmer off the Allen County Courthouse exterior lights.
The little boy died Nov. 29 and have severe injuries to his internal organs that occurred within hours of his death, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office. While his mother, Amber V. Garrett, 26, of Fort Wayne, faces two counts of neglect of a dependent, Level 3 and a Level 6 felonies, in Allen Superior Court in connection with his death, friends, family and people from outside the city who know about the case are calling for murder charges against her.
Some of those who attended Tuesday’s event had painted messages about the case on their vehicle windows, including “#Charge Amber” and “Malakai told her ‘Mitch hit my head!’ She laughed,” a reference to a video that Garrett posted to her Facebook page in which Malakai, who has a mark on his face, utters those words, according to a probable cause affidavit in Amber Garrett’s case.
Her live-in boyfriend, Mitchell Vanryn, faces charges of murder; aggravated battery, a Level 1 felony; and domestic battery death, a Level 2 felony; in Allen Superior Court in connection with the boy’s death. Vanryn’s trial is scheduled for May 15-17.
Attendees on Tuesday night tried to shield candle flames with their gloved hands from the wind as they sang “Happy Birthday.”
Malakai’s grandmother Chante Harter said after the event, “There will be a new law, and it will be under Malakai’s name.”
Several people used chalk to draw messages in front of the courthouse doors about not only about Malakai Garrett’s case but those of other victims, including Mike Wilcher, 51, of New Haven, who died from a blow to the head after being found Sept. 21 to the 400 block of Huffman Street at Wells Street and Nicholaus Scroggins II, 14, of Fort Wayne, who was shot to death on Lillie Street in June 2016.