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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 24, 2005

Groups plan vigil Friday for slain girl

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer


Several child welfare groups, angered by the beating death of 5-year-old Talia Williams, want to raise public awareness for child abuse prevention with a rally this week at the State Capitol.

Groups coming together for the event on Friday include Prevent Child Abuse Hawai'i; Blueprint for Change; Hawai'i Children's Trust Fund; and Prevent Violence Coalition. All four deal with child abuse prevention.

"We've always wanted to do something but were not sure what to do as a group," said Aileen Deese, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hawai'i. "This has really brought us together."

Deese said a group of 20 people, including representatives from the lieutenant governor's office, the Legislature, state Department of Health, and Tripler Army Medical Center met Thursday to discuss how to respond to Talia's death.

They want more information on the child's death, Deese said.

"We were all concerned, but we don't know what really happened," she said.

The rally will be from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the State Capitol rotunda.

Talia was taken to a hospital July 16 after emergency medical personnel were called to an apartment at Wheeler Army Air Base and found her unresponsive.

According to court papers, Talia's stepmother, Delilah Williams, told U.S. Army investigators that her husband, Naeem Williams, whipped Talia with a belt for wetting herself.

He struck his daughter again later that day after she wet herself again. This time the child fell and hit her head on the floor.

She lost consciousness, and the Williamses did not immediately call 911. When EMS personnel arrived, she was unresponsive and without a pulse.

She was pronounced dead at Wahiawa General Hospital.