Helena community holds candlelight vigil for teen abuse victim

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Dozens of candles lit up one of the baseball fields at the Helena Sports Complex the night of Nov. 17, as several members of the Helena community gathered to pray for the health and well being of a local 14-year-old boy who, just days earlier, was admitted to the hospital in grave condition.

The Helena community was rocked by the news of a Helena couple accused of allegedly torturing, willfully abusing and maltreating their 14-year-old adopted son. The Helena Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested 56-year-old Richard Hobson Kelly and 47-year-old Cynthia Rogers Kelly of Helena on Nov. 14 and charged them with one count each of aggravated family child abuse.

The couple remains in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million each.

The Helena community has now turned their attention to the 14-year-old boy who remains in the hospital after doctors initially noted he was suffering from severe chronic malnourishment, shock, acute respiratory distress, hypothermia and hypothyroid disease.

Approximately 50 members of the Helena community gathered at the Helena Sports Complex for a candlelight vigil and to pray for the healing of the 14-year-old.

Crossbridge Community Church Pastor Bruce Squires helped lead the prayer vigil.

“This speaks well of our city and I’m proud to live here,” said Squires. “It’s been rated as one of the safest cities to live in, but sometimes as imperfect as we are people, some things go awry and we don’t have an answer for it. Sometimes when things break down, they obviously broke down in his family. This little boy got wounded in such a way that he probably wouldn’t want to trust anyone for a while and that’s just my thoughts. But I know this, there’s a God in heaven that loves him and he loves you and he’s called us out, I believe, tonight to pray and intercede on this precious little boy’s life and also to pray for mercy upon that mom and dad.”

After Squires prayed for the boy, other members of the community got up to pray and people divided into small groups to pray and ask for healing.

“We want to pray for that little boy. I don’t know his name but I know this; that little boy needs to know the love of God,” said Squires. “He’s been wounded, physically hurt, mentally hurt and wounded in a way that we probably can’t understand.”

Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar said on Nov. 15 that the investigation surrounding the case is ongoing and will not be complete for some time.