A memorial service is being planned for 5-year-old JaShawn Bussell who died of injuries police say were inflicted by Tre Henderson, the boyfriend of the child’s mother.
Henderson is still at large. Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.
The Rev. Brad Beier, pastor of Living Hope Church in Chicago, where JaShawn’s grandmother is a member, said the church is focusing on the child’s mother, Jacqueline Rambert.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the memorial and to aid Rambert with legal bills.
“We set a goal of $1,500 then we realized she’ll need legal representation in a major way, so the goal was raised to $2,500,” Beier said.
Police have said that Rambert is not a suspect in the investigation.
People already have come to Rambert's aid, and have offered comfort and hope, Beier said.
“JaShawn’s mother is a sweet, small thing; she’s a tiny thing and she’s in shock and has been traumatized by this whole event,” Beier said. “She’s a working mom who is trying to provide for her son and needed some help and the boyfriend did this heinous crime.”
Cremation rites for JaShawn have been accorded, he said. A group of people went by the church Sunday with food and fed the whole church, “so we could focus on her,” he said.
“She’s experiencing what no one else wants to face as a parent and we need to be there for her,” he said.
According to the arrest affidavit filed by Davenport Police officer Sean Johnson earlier this month, officers were alerted to a child abuse case.
On April 22, Henderson was with the boy, the affidavit said. Henderson, 26, allegedly assaulted the boy causing head and other injuries which resulted in the child vomiting multiple times over a four-day period. The boy also complained of being tired and wanting to sleep, according to the affidavit.
During this period, Henderson failed to get the child medical help.
On Friday, April 27, JaShawn was found to be choking and unresponsive when a 911 call was made. He was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, and then air lifted to University Hospitals, Iowa City, with what police described at life threatening injuries, according to the affidavit. He died after being taken off life support.
Henderson has been charged with one count of child endangerment with serious injury. But since JaShawn has died thate charge is expected to be elevated to first-degree murder.