SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Utahns are supporting a toddler who police said suffered serious injuries possibly by a man her mother trusted.
Supporters gathered to make the statement that they won’t be silent anymore.
Hundreds of people gathered at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City to support a 16-month-old girl named Marley. Friends and family say she was sexually abused by her mother’s former fiance, after being left in his care.
They have a lot of allegations against him, but for now, police are only saying there’s reason to investigate.
Monday night friends brought Marley pink and yellow balloons, which they say symbolize happiness and hope.
“I know she can’t express it, but it’s a beautiful thing – for a community to come together like this. People we don’t know have reached out and it’s just been unreal,” said Alani Taumalolo, Marley’s father.
Hundreds of people marched on the sidewalks of Liberty Park to speak out against sexual violence.
“From one mother to another from one family to another you just feel so much heartache and pain, but we find ways to heal,” said Losaline Tukufau, event organizer.
Sunday afternoon, local police found Daniel Farr, 36, dead in a home in Salt Lake City. Police say committed suicide. Farr had a history of domestic abuse charges.
The Salt Lake City Police Department says the injuries to the toddler are serious and concerning.
“At some point, we have to break the chains of that silence and tell people it’s ok to be brave and speak out against things that are wrong and things that are helpful,” Mike Tuiasoa, a family friend.
Marley’s friends and family say they feel strongly to speak up especially after seeing Farr’s obituary, which they say, painted him in a misleading way. Her great uncle said the march marked the start of healing, love, and support for Marley.
“Her spirit is mainly is what brought our family together. Her smile and her laugh, her attitude, she’s really a true champ and a warrior through all of this. That’s really what has gotten us through and helped us think outside of what happened,” said Mike Salusihavili, Marley’s great uncle.
A GoFundMe account shows Utahns have donated thousands of dollars to the little girl’s family. In a statement to the media, the family said in part–
“We did not ask for financial support however we are so very grateful for friends and family and the strangers that have embraced us as family that care so much to have done this for us. Your donations will go a long way on this very long road we will travel with this precious girl.”