exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Violence Erupts At 1-Year-Old Boy's Funeral


Violence Erupts At 1-Year-Old Boy's Funeral

Toddler Died While In Foster Care Of His Aunt

November 19, 2008

MILWAUKEE -- Violence erupted at the funeral of a Milwaukee toddler who died violently.

Christopher Thomas Jr. died last week of severe injuries and trauma while in the foster care of his aunt.

Family, friends and even strangers came to Serenity Funeral Home to say goodbye to Christopher -- a 1-year-old with dimples on both sides of his smile.

His autopsy showed he had broken bones.

But violence continued after his death. A fist fight began at the foot of his open casket and spilled into the foyer of the funeral home.

After a hostile exchange of words, Thomas' father, Christopher Thomas Sr., was attacked by family members from the maternal side of the family.

"This ain't the way. This is not the way," great-grandmother Katherine Shaw said.

Great-grandparents Katherine and Frank Shaw traveled from Alabama for the service.

"We didn't want him to go home this way. We want him to go home the right way. That's not right what happened in there," Frank Shaw said.

But emotions were raw as each side of the family blames the other for what happened to Christopher.

There was further anguish over Christopher's older sister, Christyanna, who is now in foster care.

"I begged the system to take her out that home before this even happened to her. They ignored what I'm saying. Give us Christyanna so it won't happen to her," Katherine Shaw said.

"I'm tired. I've been crying all week -- every day, every day," grandmother Darlene Keith said.

Christopher Thomas Sr.'s mother is also upset. She has another son who is married to Crystal Keith, the aunt accused in Christopher's death.

The baby's father left his son's funeral bloody and battered in an ambulance.

"Have love for everybody. You've got to have love for everybody," Frank Shaw said.

2008 Nov 19