Vigil held for 13-month-old killed in wreck on Christmas

Vigil held for 13-month-old killed in wreck on Christmas


by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 31 at 6:12 AM

DALLAS, N.C. -- The old Gazebo, located next to  the 150-year-old Historic Dallas Courthouse proved  to be a fitting place to remember Alexis Hooper.

More than a hundred people gathered there Monday night to take part in an community-wide prayer vigil by candlelight.

"It was emotional, but it was so great to be there for Kelsey and Alex. It shows how a community is coming together in tragedy," said Katie Comer.

Alexis was the couple's first child.  She was sleeping in her child-seat of the family Volkswagen when the car crashed head-on into another vehicle.

The family was traveling on Highway 74 headed to their home in Gastonia, Christmas Day.

Her father was behind the wheel, and suffered injuries, along with her mother who was ejected from the car during the crash.

Monday afternoon, Wadesboro police ruled out the influence of alcohol, drugs, and driver fatigue as a contributing factor.

No charges have been filed, but the findings of the investigation have been turned over to the District Attorney's office for review.

"Being a mother like myself, I have a little girl. I can't imagine what she is going through," said Cydney Shirley.

"We're praying for her every day. We can't get her off our minds and we want to do what we can," she said.

Those in attendance wore printed Pink T-shirts, that read "rest easy baby girl."
Community members have been actively collecting donations to help the family, through the couple's Facebook prayer page.

Many people also signed cards at the vigil, offering words of encouragement.

 "I think that's the biggest part. That the family knows, help is never too far," said Cameron Blair. He says Alexis will never be forgotten. He will remembers how she always lit up the whole room and how she always wanted to be held.

Shirley, says many in the community are heartbroken over the loss of such a young life. The vigil was to offer support for the couple as they mourn and rebuild.

"That she is surrounded by love and not to give up, and keep pushing. Because everybody is here for her."

The couple watched the vigil from the hospital via a friend's cell-phone. They saw supporters waving hello and waved back.

Alexis' family were invited and attended the vigil. Helen Maloney, a third cousin says she last saw Alexis during a family reunion in August.

"She was an angel, and will be missed," she said.

Maloney says the family sends their gratitude for the outpouring of love, but asks for continual support.

  "Cause they still got  some rough days ahead, but the good Lord will see us through that," she said.