Family & friends gather to honor Kilah Davenport's life - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Family & friends gather to honor Kilah Davenport's life

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UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Kilah Davenport, the Union County girl who was severely beaten by her stepfather and sparked the move to pass Kilah's Law, passed away on March 13.

Family and friends of Kilah will be honoring her life on Saturday afternoon in at the Oaks Event Center in Midland, N.C.  

The Celebration of Life is open to the public.

On March 13, sources told WBTV 4-year-old Kilah died shortly after 6 p.m. at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast, in Concord.

Kilah's grandmother, Leslie Davenport, said Kilah was at home with her mother when she took "two funny breaths." Her mother began performing CPR and called 911.

They then rushed the young girl to the hospital, but she soon passed away. She would have turned five in April.

"We just appreciate everyone's support and their thoughts and prayers for us," Leslie said Thursday. "Please continue to pray for our family. This is the second hardest thing we've been through. The first was when Kilah got hurt and now we lost her."

Kilah's stepfather, Joshua Houser, was convicted of felonious assault two weeks before the young girl's death. Authorities say in 2012 Houser threw then 3-year-old Kilah into a wall, leaving her brain damaged.

After the 2012 incident, a major movement began to pass a law permitting harsher sentences for those who inflict permanent physical debilitating injuries on a child.

The Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, which was written and introduced by Congressman Pittenger, unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 9, 2013, but the legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Once approved there, it will go to President Obama for a signature into law.

The legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to issue a state-by-state report on child abuse prevention laws within 6 months, with a particular focus on penalties for cases of severe child abuse.

The goal is to highlight deficient laws and provide states with the opportunity to fix those laws before another tragedy occurs.

Pittenger released a statement after hearing the news of Kilah's passing.

He said, in part, "Sweet Kilah has been healed. Not in the way we frail humans were praying for, but in the most complete and everlasting way possible. Kilah no longer feels pain when the weather gets cold. She's not struggling to breathe.  Instead, she's dancing with her Creator and rejoicing in the blessing of growing up in Heaven."

He added, "Those of us left behind are the ones feeling pain. But through the tears, let us rejoice that Kilah will never again suffer."

The news prompted action from NC Governor Pat McCrory as well.

"Governor McCrory called me when he heard that Kilah had passed to offer his condolences and he came to be with me and my family and I appreciate that," Leslie said.

At the hospital, McCrory said, "They've got a family in NC supporting this wonderful wonderful family and this beautiful girl and we're going to miss her greatly."

Leslie said, "But we know she's dancing again in heaven. She's singing and she's playing and she's happy and she's not in pain anymore."

For more on Kilah Davenport and her foundation, click here.

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