Cave Hill Cemetery donates headstone for child murdered in Chero - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cave Hill Cemetery donates headstone for child murdered in Cherokee Park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The family of a 12-year-old homeless child, murdered in Cherokee Park in September, has been shown another act of compassion.

His life was short and ended violently, but now thanks to Cave Hill Cemetery, the name of Ray Etheridge can live on.

A short procession wound its way through Cave Hill as a handful of friends and family arrived to accept one final gift for the slain 12-year-old.

"There's too much suffering going on. So we wanted to make it easier on the family, and donate this headstone," said Cave Hill Superintendent Lee Squires.

It was a headstone for the grave of a homeless child; given by Cave Hill, the landmark resting place of some of Louisville's most iconic figures.

"Ray's untimely death, being killed like he was, kind of hit home with us," said Squires.

It's the first time in its 166-year history that Cave Hill has ever done this.

"It's really nice. I like it," said Etheridge's friend Austin Collins.

His cousin Patricia Sumner went one step further. "I love it. I love it," she said through tears.

His parents were said to be too overcome to attend, but others expressed hope that the headstone will serve as a reminder, not just of Etheridge's death, but his life.

"Him and my son playing video games together, basketball together, tag together. Just good times. Good times with Ray," said Sumner.

The service ended with the family friend Mike Collins reading a poem written by one of Etheridge's teachers. It contains the words engraved on his headstone: "Don't let the anger fill your heart. It will only destroy another life. Enough violence and brutality. Let a new light shine. Let the kids grow."

"He's at peace. He's resting. He's smiling down on us," said Sumner. "This is going to be a positive change for other kids and other families. Hopefully, it will be a wake-up call."

Cave Hill plans to take the headstone to the Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Jeffersonville, where Etheridge is buried on Tuesday afternoon.

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