CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Birthday balloons, for the little boy who would have turned 12 Monday. Randez Brown was just days away from celebrating when he died trying to pull his sister, seven-year-old Samiyah, to safety. The two, and some other children, were playing in Davis Creek in south Charlotte Thursday night when the drowning happened. Now, along the fence that surrounds the creek, a memorial continues to grow.
Friends and family hugged, displayed flowers, released balloons, and lit candles in Randez’s memory Monday evening. “We hope this light reaches to heaven. Because we know that is where he is,” says his grandmother Joyce Hart.
Randez’s mother says he was sensitive and protective. Stephanie Black says, “That was my third child. My little baby, my beautiful baby. Prettiest baby. And helpful. He’ll ask every day, you okay? You all right? You need anything from the store?”
Lauren Stines taught both Randez and Samiyah in a church after-school program. She always thought Randez would grow up to be a preacher. She says, “He always wanted to be leading, he always wanted to be praying, he wanted to be up front. He was growing up into such a strong young man. It was great to see that.”
Meanwhile, Samiyah remains in the hospital. The girl, described as silly and cute, is making progress, according to her grandmother. “Samiyah’s coming along. She attempted to open her eyes yesterday. They were reading to her,” says Hart.
There will be a funeral service for Randez Brown on Saturday at Chappell Memorial Baptist Church. His family has also set up a website (http://www.gofundme.com/7rqyrw
) to collect donations.