LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY) — Friday, a community gathered to remember a Louisiana teen. The young girl’s life was brutally taken almost one week before.
Melanie Lyons, 15, was stabbed and killed at Walmart. A 13-year-old was charged for her murder. That’s what most of the world knows about her, but on Friday, family, friends and strangers came together to remember who she really was and to encourage more kids to be like her.
The emotions were raw six days after Lyons’ death.
“Nobody wants to bury their child. Nobody. To see her come out of Walmart on a stretcher with no life, I can’t imagine nobody going through that,” Lyons’ cousin, Whitley Richard, told News 10.
The country girl who loved to ride horses and dance on TikTok was celebrating her 15th birthday at the movie theater. Not long after, she went to Walmart, and waiting for her were four 12 to 14-year-old girls who broadcasted her through social media.
“It hurt to see it,” remembered another of Lyons’ cousins, Keri Edwards. “It hurted me the most because that wasn’t her.”
A 13-year-old girl is charged with second-degree murder. Three others were charged with principal to the murder. In the past six months, there have three homicides involving kids ages 11 to 16 within Calcasieu Parish according to the sheriff’s office.
To Lawrence Senegal, his sister’s death is something parents can learn from and better in life.
“It can happen to anybody. It happened to my sister on her birthday,” Senegal said. “It starts in the home and people taking actions for their kids and taking care of their kids how they’re supposed to.”
Melanie’s cousins are both mothers and agree. Edwards encouraged, “If your children are being bullies, ask for help, ask for counseling, call the police, call whoever you have to because we can’t keep losing them like this.”
The two mothers also believe the responsibility lies on the child too.
“That baby was so precious, loving, always had a smile on her face,” Richard remembered of her cousin. “They didn’t have to do that. It was senseless. It was unnecessary. Like We’ve got to do better.”
Melanie Lyons’ family expressed they were blown away by the amount of support they saw Friday. Mel’s father and mother were too hurt to speak, so her cousins and brother thanked everyone in their place.
“Support and prayer is what’s keeping us strong,” Senegal said.
Edwards added, “I don’t know how many times we can tell y’all thank you or we appreciate it. We love y’all. We don’t even know y’all, but we thank y’all. We thank everyone. We thank the nation. This went nationwide. We thank y’all just to keep us in prayer to strengthen us.”
Melanie Dalaina Lyons funeral will be Saturday, February 6th, at the New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles.