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Friends, family mourn at vigil for 2-year-old


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By Mark Keierleber



In I’Nere Genesis Jalee Wallace’s two years on Earth, her uncle Micah Wallace said she accomplished more than he had in 31 years. Donating her heart to a 10-month-old in need, she saved someone’s life. In honor of a life now lost, she brought people together.

Huddled on the lawn in front of Timber Ridge Apartments at 2300 S. Henderson St., friends and family gathered Tuesday evening for I’Nere’s  vigil.

I’Nere died at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis at about 4:30 a.m. July 19 after being transported by helicopter from IU Health Bloomington Hospital. I’Nere died from severe head trauma believed to be caused by child abuse.

The girl’s mother, Tameria Kline, and the mother’s girlfriend, Dominique Irby, were arrested by the Bloomington Police Department on  July 17 after Irby admitted she had beaten the child with a belt until she had welts, tied her arms and legs together with a T-shirt and locked the child in the bathroom with the lights off as a form of punishment on several instances, BPD Detective Sgt. John Kovach said.

Irby, 20, faces a preliminary charge of battery on a minor, a Class D felony, and Kline, 23, faces a preliminary charge of neglect of a dependent child, a Class D felony.

Kovach said the BPD is waiting for an autopsy report from the Marion County Coroner’s Office before potentially issuing additional charges.

“I want to tell the accused, or the suspected, that we still love them,” Micah said. “They are still family. Just start talking to the Father, get your life in order, get
some forgiveness.”

On the apartment complex’s lawn was a cluster of unlit candles in front of two cardboard signs with photographs of I’Nere. “Luv N Memories Lost, 4-17-10 to 7-19-12,” said one of the signs in colorful letters. A brown stuffed animal rested among the candles on the grass.

In front of the mourners, who wielded unlit candles and sniffled, Micah held a bible with a baby blue cover. He told the group he wanted to open the vigil with a prayer, bowing his head and closing his eyes.

“Anything we have carrying in our hearts — pain, discouragement, desperation and confusion — we just ask you right now, Lord, to remove all that right now,” he said. “We just ask that you comfort our hearts and comfort our minds.”

As tears came to Micah’s eyes, he called for a moment of silence. The crowd passed around lighters, igniting white candles.

A woman held a cell phone above the group’s bowed heads. “Amazing Grace” quietly played from the phone’s speakers.

Although the vigil was arranged by I’Nere’s father, Timothy Wallace, and his girlfriend, Jessica Merchant, Micah said he agreed to lead the ceremony.

“My brother is suffering a great loss right now,” Micah said. “He knows I’m a spiritual man, I’m a sensible man. I’m one with my spirituality, so he needed someone to lead. It was an honor and a privilege. I’m glad I got to do it.”

A man stepped forward and kneeled in front of the cardboard signs. He rubbed a picture of I’Nere’s smiling face and set a small candle on the ground.

“Rest in peace, little girl,” he said as he stood.

Martha Wallace, I’Nere’s aunt, attended Tuesday’s vigil with her children, including her 5-year-old daughter.

“She wants to know why,” Martha said. “How do you tell a 5-year-old, innocent child anything like that? How do you explain it?”

I’Nere’s uncle Brad Young said he was at the hospital for her birth. Above all, he said he will remember her energy.

“‘See it,’ that was her favorite words, and that’s cute,” Young said. “She had her own language, but we always knew what she meant. She could only speak four or five sentences, but we always knew what she was talking about.”

Timothy said a funeral for I’Nere will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, June 27, in Muncie. A location for the ceremony has not been determined.

“She was a huggable, lovable baby,” Timothy said. “And she never got a chance.”

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7-year-olds Christopher Hooker and Landon Seacat and 6-year-old Che Hogue Edmonds hug during a vigil for I'Nere Genesis Jalee Wallace on Tuesday at Timber Ridge Apartments. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos
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Kids sit around the posters dedicated to I'Nere Genesis Jalee Wallace at a vigil held in her honor Tuesday at Timber Ridge Apartments. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos
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The Dunford Family sings a song in 2 year-old I'Nere Genesis Jalee Wallace's memory during a vigil in her honor held Tuesday at Timber Ridge Apartments. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos

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