On the one year anniversary of the murder of two-year old Mason Hunt, family and friends gathered outside the place where the horrific last moments of Mason’s life unfolded for a candleless vigil. Though they honored Mason’s memory, some relatives are using their experience as momentum for advocacy.

“We’re here to bring honor to Mason and awareness of child abuse, which seems like the norm done at the hands of mommy or a daddy or a girlfriend or a boyfriend,” said Carol Paterson, Mason’s aunt. 

Mason Hunt’s grandmother, Barbara Baltuskonis, was among the people calling for advocacy against child abuse.

Mason Hunt’s grandmother, Barbara Baltuskonis, was among the people calling for advocacy against child abuse.

“Our babies are being killed; this is not okay. When this family can heal, maybe I’ll be an advocate.”

The wall of 425 Chester Pike, Norwood, the place of the murder above a physician’s practice, was transformed into a memorial shrine with pictures, balloons and stuffed animals. It was surrounded by a small crowd, with many dressed in white t-shirts that bore a picture of Mason and holding glow-sticks in lieu of candles.

According to published reports, Shannon Matthews, 30, of Chester, and Daniel Grafton, 31, are facing charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault and additional offenses for the beating-death of Mason, who had 120 contusions on his body. The duo is currently still in custody awaiting trial that is scheduled to begin this month.

Fr. Michael Knight, of nearby St. Steven’s Church, delivered a sermon to honor Mason and the trial that will soon start. In it, he shed light on the issue of child abuse and urged people to be vigilant for signs.

“Repeat after me, Childline PA,” Knight urged the crowd recite it. “I can’t hear you!”

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