Another painful milestone for Kilah Davenport’s family

Five years since Kilah Davenport's death

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - While most of us look forward to March and the approaching Spring, for Kilah Davenport’s family, this time of year is dark and difficult. Kilah Davenport died from complication of a horrible case of abuse on March 13, 2014.

For almost two years, with the help of her loving family, the tiny curly haired Union County girl fought to live. But the beating she suffered at the hands of Joshua Houser would finally cause her body to shut down, she passed in her mother Kirbi’s arms.

Today’s date, like other milestones, the date of the abuse, Kilah’s birthday, are always tough. Kirbi Emerity talked with me about it in 2016.

“I wake up every morning and I wish it was just a nightmare that I could just wake up from,” Kirbi said through tears.

“This is my reality now. This is my Kilah now. This is what I get to hold and to kiss and to sing to,” Kilah’s grandmother Leslie Davenport told me. She was holding the tiny gold urn that holds Kilah’s ashes.

“We never imagined that she would pass away. We thought we had the rest of her life to try and heal her,” Leslie told me.

While Kilah was still alive, even with the intensive care she needed, her family fought for tougher sentencing for felony child abuse cases. Joshua Houser was given seven years for the abuse. They knew that was not enough.

Governor Pat McCrory signed the Kilah Law in 2013, calling for tougher sentencing on five felony child abuse charges.

Because Kilah was abused before the law was enacted, Houser did not get a longer sentence. That changed when Kilah died. They formed the non-profit Kilah Davenport Foundation to continue their mission.

After her death Houser faced a second degree murder charge. After years of denying that he had hurt the precious 3-year-old, he admitted he hurt Kilah. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 17 years.

Kilah’s family couldn’t talk today about another year without their angel, they’ve all be under the weather. But Kila’s grandmother, Leslie Davenport had this message to all WBTV News viewers who have followed the case along with us from the beginning.

“"We appreciate everyone's continued support and their kind words and prayers, not only today, but every day. It doesn't seem to get any easier after losing Kilah. But we as a family take it day by day," Leslie wrote via text.

The Davenports continue to fight for tougher laws across the country.

Kilah had a cute phrase she always said and I’ll close with this to Kilah’s family, “I love you BIG!”

- Maureen

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