Residents from around Wichita turned out Sunday for a fundraiser for the children of the woman who died after she was beaten, raped and set on fire at Fairmount Park.
Kali Kerr, an organizer of the event, didn’t know Letitia Davis.
But she was moved by her story.
“We all just care about what happened,” Kerr said. “It struck a chord with me. We just want to honor her and help with her four children.”
Kerr also cares about the neighborhood around Fairmount Park, just south of Wichita State University.
She used to play baseball in that park.
Davis, 36, was walking in Fairmount Park in northeast Wichita the night of Nov. 14 when she was raped, beaten and set on fire.
She died after spending more than a week at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis. She was rushed to the hospital after the attack and was being treated for lacerations and burns to 55 percent of her body.
Cornell McNeal, 26, has been charged with capital murder in the case.
Davis has four children ranging in age from 8 to 14.
The fundraiser was held at Kirby’s Beer Store at 3227 E. 17th St. Organizers worked about three weeks to get the event together.
“It was an incredible amount of work,” Kerr said.
But there was an outpouring of support.
Local artists and businesses donated items for live and silent auctions. The items were set up in a large, heated tent erected for the event.
Several bands also volunteered to play for free and were donating their tips, Kerr said.
Local food trucks, such as the Flying Stove and Funky Monkey Munchies, were donating a part of their proceeds during the day to the fund.
Natalie Grant, an assistant professor at WSU who teaches social work, said she was struck by the death of Davis.
“It broke my heart,” Grant said.
While Grant didn’t know the victim, some of her students did.
Jackie Billings came with a group of friends to the fundraiser. She wanted to help the family of the victim.
Billings once lived in the area of Fairmount Park and played softball at the park.
Bill Bischoff was part of the same group.
“We’re big Kirby’s fans,” Bischoff said. “We’re supporting the endeavor.”