'We'll never get over losing Oaklyn': Danville 1-year-old remembered

Oaklyn Owens' father arrested Tuesday, charged with her death

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - "We just want people to know that she will never be forgotten," 1-year-old Oaklyn Owens godfather, Chris Guill, said Wednesday.

A digital flyer has been created with a picture of Oaklyn and the message Justice For Oaklyn.

Guill hopes the message helps raise awareness about child abuse.

"We have to be her voice, we have to speak on her behalf, to let people know that if they feel overwhelmed or stressed, call somebody. Let somebody help. We'll never get over losing Oaklyn," Guill said.

Guill shared with 10 News home videos of Oaklyn; memories he'll never forget. 

"She was a very happy baby. She was just starting to learn to walk," Guill said.

Guill and his girlfriend helped care for Oaklyn.

"(Oaklyn) would growl. I know everybody that was close to her loved it. It was her signature call," Guill said.

Guill said the months since Oaklyn's Jan. 25 death were tough, not knowing if or when investigators would make an arrest.

But even when the call came Tuesday that Oaklyn's father, 30-year-old John Shore, had been arrested it wasn't easy to hear.

"It wasn't as hard as the call we got when she was in the hospital that night, but it did bring back that pain and reliving that night. I don't know whether to be excited or still angry," Guill said.

Oaklyn was hospitalized on Jan. 23, six days after her first birthday.

Investigators say she died two days later from blunt force trauma.

Her father is charged with homicide and child neglect, but according to police, the investigation isn't over yet.

"Cases can always be made better, all the way up to the day of trial. We'll continue to work. Detectives will continue to even conduct some re-interviews with the Commonwealth Attorney's Office," Danville Police Department Lt. Richard Chivvis said.

He commends investigators.

"Everyone who dies is someone's child, but when we're talking about some of the most vulnerable part of our population, a young child, that certainly adds some more emotion to (the case)," Chivvis said. "The detectives, they did a good job compartmentalizing those feelings and pursuing the leads, pursuing justice."

"We'll never get over losing Oaklyn. Never. We'll fight for her to the very end," Guill said.

Bracelets and ribbons are being sold in honor of Oaklyn. To purchase one, visit Riverside Cleaners in Danville or contact Guill.

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