Family of young victim holds teen responsible
When a child dies senselessly, the pain never goes away. That's why nearly three years after a 9-year-old girl was killed in a crash on Route 10, her family makes it to every one of the teenage car thief's court appearances.
They even attended a review on Thursday that lasted about 5 minutes. No matter the length of the appearance, Alexis Silva's family says it's all for the 9-year-old.
"I just want to know everything that's going on," Stephanie Flynn, the girl's mother, said. "Everything that happens, everything they say about him, I don't want to miss anything. I want to make sure he does the time he's supposed to do."
That's why every three months Flynn goes to Providence Family Court.
"It's only about Alexis," she said. "I don't want anyone to forget that or forget her."
Because Marcus Ortiz is a juvenile offender, NBC 10 was not allowed in the courtroom.
He's serving at least eight years behind bars. The teenager pleaded no contest to stealing a van from Nickerson House Community Center and crashing into Stephanie Flynn's car on Sept. 25, 2010. At the time, Ortiz was only 14 years old.
The crash injured the mother of two and her youngest daughter, Naveah. Alexis was killed instantly. She's forever frozen in time as the young smiling girl up from her grandmother's T-shirt.
"It keeps her close to me," Brenda Silva, Alexis' paternal grandmother, said. "This way everybody knows. She's not going to be forgotten."
Ortiz is held at the Rhode Island Training School, but a judge may decide to send him to the Adult Correctional Institutions next year when he turns 18. Family members said they will definitely be in court for that decision.
"I just hope he learns and realizes what he's done, and that he can forgive himself," Donna Flynn, Alexis' maternal grandmother, said. "Because he's got a long road ahead of him, and we do too with the loss of Alexis."
Alexis' family doesn't just remember her in the courtroom. They also hold A Walk to Remember in her name every year. They start the walk with a prayer at Parkview Middle School.
This year's walk will take place on Sept. 21 and start at about noon. They meet at the middle school because that's where Alexis used to have cheerleading practice. At the walk her mother sells T-shirts to raise money for the squad.
"I want to help the girls out any way that I can to help Alexis," Stephanie Flynn said.
Even 4-year-old Naveah is following in her big sister's footsteps as an Edgewood Eagles cheerleader.
"It's great," Stephanie Flynn said. "She reminds me of Alexis a lot. To be able to keep her doing something that Alexis loved it just, it helps keep her alive."