'That's a perfect kid you destroyed': Vigil held for 12-year-old boy found dead in trash can

Friday, September 1, 2023
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The shocking murder of a 12-year-old boy, whose body was found in a trash can, brought scores of neighbors and community members together in North Philadelphia Friday night.

"He was a baby. My only baby. My last baby," said Dolores Davis, who is Hezekiah Bernard's mother.

Bernard was just 12 years old when Philadelphia police said he was brutally killed.

"I love him. I will miss him. I miss my son. I won't see him again," said Davis.

Family members lit candles during a vigil Friday night to call for justice.

Hezekiah Bernard

They said they'll always remember his ability to win hearts with his sweet smile and dance moves.

"He was a good kid," said Davis. "Loving. He was a dancer, athlete, always witty, (and) funny."

"He always wanted to play (and) dance," said Kelsiy Sierra Gilliem, who is Bernard's cousin. "He was just full of love, and he showed it."

His parents, 14 siblings and loved ones wonder why anyone would take his life.

Police said a Philadelphia Housing Authority sanitation worker found Bernard's body in a trash can on the 5500 block of Cherry Street on August 23.

SEE ALSO: 12-year-old boy found dead in trash can was 'brutally killed,' Philadelphia police say
12-year-old boy found dead in trash can was 'brutally killed,' Philadelphia police say

They said the 12-year-old was shot in the head, and he was wrapped in plastic and a blanket.

Authorities believe he was dead for one or two days by the time he was found.

Sources told Action News Bernard was not in the Department of Human Services care at the time. However, Bernard's mother said he was, and she has no idea what happened.

"We just found out Tuesday," said Davis. "And that's pretty much it. We just don't know."

Now police are trying to determine where Bernard was killed and who is responsible.

"We just want you to come forward," said Robert Bernard, who is his father. "We hurting. That's a perfect kid you destroyed. He didn't even grow up. He didn't deserve what he got."

Sources told Action News that police are working on several leads and trying to obtain any surveillance video.

Loved ones will gather again on Tuesday morning for Bernard's service at Francis Funeral Home.

Anyone with information on the murder is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.
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