Local baby’s recent death adds poignancy to Walk a Mile event

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Adriane Weatherford said by the time her son, Asher Carter, turned 1, he was already saying “mom” and “hi,” and had been walking for a month.
“He hit those milestones long before his older brother did,” Weatherford said. “He was such a sweet boy.”
Asher died Feb. 19, 2019, just two days after his first birthday, when his babysitter smothered him in an attempt to stop his crying, according to court records.
Amber Marie Scott was found guilty in a jury trial of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison in December, in connection with Asher’s death.
Dala’s Blue Angels hosted the ninth annual Walk a Mile for a Child fundraiser and awareness event on April 3 in Asher’s honor at Academy Square. Approximately 250 people participated.
“Children are not supposed to die,” said Dala Johnson, an event organizer. “Parents expect to see their children grow and mature. This was not the case for Asher. We are here to continue to love, honor and value his life, and make his presence known to family and friends.”

DALA JOHNSON and Dena Burian present a ribbon and quilt in Asher Carter’s honor for Child Abuse Awareness month.

During the event, Johnson presented a large blue metal ribbon that will hang in Asher’s honor at the Lebanon Justice Center alongside ribbons for Karly Sheehan and Tesslynn O’Cull, two previous victims of child abuse.
Flowers and a handmade quilt were also presented to Weatherford and her mother, who sat with the rest of their family at the Walk a Mile event. Asher’s brother, Abel Carter, 5, sat on his mother’s lap and accepted her hugs and kisses while leaders in Lebanon’s justice system spoke.
Lebanon Police Capt. Kimberly Hyde urged the community to speak up without fear any time they see a concern regarding child abuse.
She asked half the crowd to cry out, “we are the voice,” and the other half to respond, “we hear you.”
Chad Christensen, lead detective in the Asher Carter case, said the main thing the detective unit in town deals with on a yearly basis is crimes against children.
“This is a good thing that we’re doing here today to continue to raise awareness and to try and at least slow it down,” Christensen said.
He also noted the importance of being connected to community, especially for families who suffer from child abuse.
“Find your community,” he said. “We need to have people in our lives; you can’t live this life alone.”
Seeing the response from the community at the Walk a Mile for a Child put everything into perspective for Weatherford, she said.
“I’ve always felt like I’ve had a really good support system,” she said, noting support came from friends as well as strangers. “I wouldn’t have been able to get through if it wasn’t for all the support that I’ve had.”
Dala’s Blue Angels and community sponsorships support the fundraiser every April, a month dedicated to child abuse awareness.
It is a time to recognize the work that families, service providers and the community do to prevent child abuse and neglect, Johnson said. It is also a time to promote the overall social, physical and emotional well-being of children and their families.
“It takes all of us working together, doing our part in strengthening our community. Our voices are more powerful together,” she said.

Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson sits with her daughter next to a “check” presented to the ABC House by Dala’s Blue Angels.

The fundraiser brought in about $17,000 this year, Johnson said, of which $10,000 went to the ABC House, and Johnson hopes to give another $10,000 to CASA following a second fundraising push through Human Bean this month. Both organizations combat child abuse and provide support for victims and families.
Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson, executive director of ABC House, explained the role ABC House plays in the community.
“We work with law enforcement and Child Protective Services and the medical community to help identify abuse when it’s happening, and, if it is, getting kids and families connected to what they need to heal,” Gilmore-Robinson said.
Trained experts and medical doctors identify facts of the abuse, and counselors provide trauma counseling, she said. They also provide family support and prevention education.
Gilmore-Robinson also pointed out the importance of community and family. There’s the family we’re born into and there’s the family we choose, but there’s also the family that embraces us – the community – she said, and all these families are different in a lot of ways.
“There’s a lot that makes us different, but the thing that I think that we can all agree on is that kids deserve to be safe and protected, and as the grown ups, it’s our job to do something about that,” she said.
“It’s our job to take care of them, and we can do that if we work together. No matter who you are, no matter what your background, what you want in life, there’s three things that we can all do.”
Gilmore-Robinson invited the community to get involved in a child’s life, get educated about abuse and neglect, and report any concerns about possible abuse.
“The death of a child is the loss of innocence,” Johnson said. “It is a disruption of life like no other.”
Next year’s Walk A Mile for a Child will be in honor of seven-week-old Sandra Lee, who starved to death on March 29, 2020.
Weatherford and her son Abel still talk about Asher, and they often read a book “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You,” which was given to them at the hospital.
“I love being a mom,” Weatherford said. “My kids are my whole world. I don’t even know how to put it into words; it’s like magic.”

FRIENDS & FAMILY release blue balloons “as wings reaching to Asher.”

As an end to the Walk a Mile event, Weatherford and her family released balloons “as wings spreading and reaching Asher to let him know we will see him on the other side,” Johnson said.
Weatherford said Asher’s organs were donated and have saved many lives, and his heart is still beating in a little girl.
The family who received Asher’s heart has written to Weatherford, but staying in touch with them is still hard for her, she said.
“They did say that they now celebrate his death day as her heart day, and he is a part of that day for them as well.”