On August 4, 9-year-old Connor Verkerke died after he was tragically stabbed at a playground close to his home at Pinebrook Mobile Home Park.
This weekend, the tragic loss of Connor was honored with two fundraisers which were held in his memory and in support of his family; the first on Friday at the Kelloggsville Middle School, and the second on Saturday at the high school.
The bereaved family members, who lost their eldest son in the pointless stabbing, spoke to Fox 17 News about their fond memories of Connor and how they intend to move on with their lives, however hard that may be.
Jared and Dani Verkerke spoke about their daily struggle, saying, “It depends on the day if we feel forgiveness. We are still on a roller coaster of emotion with everything else. So some days, yes we feel like forgiving and some days not so much.”
They spoke about the importance of attending events such as the fundraisers, despite the fact they are a bittersweet experience for the couple due to the memories of Connor which they elicit.
“It’s a constant reminder of what happened to us, and constantly having to relive it,” said Jared Verkerke, Connor’s father.
Connor Verkerke’s mother, Dani, spoke to reporters about the void she feels without Connor in her life.
“It’s just all the things I still wanted to experience with him. When he turned 9 years old I kind of freaked out because I realized I only had 9 more years left to do all the things I wanted to do with him. Now I know I didn’t even have that much time,” she said
Connor was murdered by 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn, who stabbed Connor multiple times. Connor’s brother, Cameron, was there and watched as his older brother was brutally stabbed.
The parents spoke about the effect that had on their younger son.
“Cameron’s birthday was really hard. He said that he felt like this was going to be his worse birthday ever, because Connor was always at his birthdays, so he’s having a rough time. Cameron felt he had to go back to the playground once to kind of show me everything, and I allowed him to do that. I could just see the whole thing as he was telling me about it.”
Dani and Jared concluded the interview saying that forgiveness is the hardest test of all for them. “That’s the hardest part. When we get off and do things as a family, knowing that there’s supposed to be four boys. That’s what’s really hard to do,” said Dani.