LADONIA, Tex. -- A two-year-old boy who authorities say died at the hands of his own mother was laid to rest Friday. Stephanie Brletic spoke with the boy's foster family.
Funeral services were held on this bright sunny afternoon for two-year-old Channing Terrell Matthews, which was fitting, say family and friends, for the boy they describe as a ray of sunshine himself.
Friday's ceremony was a celebration of a life that ended far too soon. Terrell Matthews’ former foster father, Reverend Jefferey Adams, says the toddler he called "Booba" was an energetic boy, full of life.
"He was just a joyous little boy, he really was," Reverend Adams says.
But nearly one week ago, his laughter was silenced. Police say Terrell’s biological mother, Danielle Denise Cuba, 22, and her boyfriend, Cory Don Louis, 38, severely beat the child with a belt and then hung him by his wrists from a rod in a closet.
Both have been charged with injury to a child and are being held on $500,000 bonds.
Adams and his wife, Tabatha, say they raised Terrell nearly from birth until eight months ago, when Cuba took him back to her Bonham home.
It was a move Tabatha Adams says she and her husband could not fight since they did not have legal custody of Terrell. Both Tabatha and Jeffrey Adams say they never imagined something like this could happen to their ‘Booba.’
Friends say the toddler, who could melt your heart with his big eyes, always lit up the room.
"He was just a very happy boy, very happy boy, always smiling, always laughing."
The Adams say his tragic death is not what they will remember about the affectionate boy. It's the time they shared together.
"We took him to the grocery store, we'd have to chase him, because he'd grab the bottom of the buggy and push the buggy all over the store. He would just cry and rant and rave if we took the buggy away from him."
Although Terrell was only two, it was obvious that he touched a lot of people in his short time. More than 50 people came together at the Little Bethel Baptist Church in Ladonia to remember him.
As for Danielle Denise Cuba and Cory Don Louis, authorities say the investigation into their role in Terrell’s death is ongoing.