She loved butterflies, Pooh bear, and the color purple.
“She was the happiest girl I've ever seen in my life,” said Willis “Bubba” Sheldon, Dezirae’s father.
But the 2-year-old life was cut short. Her father and his wife Karen say she was a bright and happy little girl.
“You couldn't help but fall in love with her,” said Karen Sheldon.
Last week Dezirae was rushed to the hospital after police say she was beaten by her step father Dennis Duby. He's charged with second degree murder. This happened just months after Department of Children and Families returned Dezirae to her mother's care. Her mother, Sandra Duby was convicted of child abuse last year, for breaking both of the little girl's legs.
“I can't blame DCF because they are doing their job too, but I seriously believe they have the right man,” said Sheldon.
Sheldon wants justice for Dezirea. And he says the threatening letters police say were written to DCF workers is not what he had in mind.
“I just don't want people to be violent towards anybody, because you know it’s not going to help anything. And it’s not honoring Dezirae. And if they are going to do anything, try to support other kids who are being abused,” said Sheldon.
Sheldon says this last week has been a blur. “It’s been the worst week of my entire life. I’ve missed so much time at work because I’m so numb I can't move, I can't eat, can't drink, can't sleep,” said Sheldon.
But he says they've received so much community support from family, friends, and even strangers; it's made coping a little easier. But Dezirea's bedroom now sits empty as a constant reminder of what her life could have been.
“I just barely got this place and I have to look at that door with my beautiful baby on it and I can’t hold her or hug or kiss no more. It’s just horrible,” said Sheldon.
There is a vigil planned for Saturday night in Rutland at Main Street Park at 7:30p.m. The family says everyone is welcome to come celebrate Dezirae's life and her family would like people to wear purple because it was Dezirae's favorite color.
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