by: Trish Williford Updated:
WEDDINGTON, N.C. - U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger honored the family of Kilah Davenport Thursday months after the approval of the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act.
“She always said [she would] be a star one day. We just didn’t know it would be like this,” Kilah’s mother Kirby Davenport said.
Kilah’s mother called the day bittersweet. She was excited to be presented with the pen President Barack Obama used to sign the law, but she was sad Kilah wasn’t there.
The four-year-old died in March, two years after she was severely beaten by her stepfather.
“My son is actually one-and-a-half, and when we say, ‘Where’s sissy?’ he points to the sky and says, ‘Sky,’ Davenport said. “And he fully gets it.”
The family pushed for a federal law and Pittenger sponsored it. He presented the family with a framed copy of the legislation that helps create tougher penalties for child abusers. He believes it will save many lives.
“Absolutely this is going to put pressure on the states to take a look at their laws,” Pittenger said.
Pittenger said in a speech that the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act was one of the few laws of real substance that has made it out of Congress recently. He said that ending child abuse is incredibly important. Kilah’s mom believes that will be her daughter’s legacy.
“I cannot be more proud,” Davenport said. “Kilah was given this journey long before she was ever my child. And I was given that journey as her mother. And I’m thankful and grateful that it was given to us because we made a difference.”
Pittenger said it was a challenge to get the law passed. He told Channel 9 he tried to get the White House to host a special signing ceremony, but he said he never received a response from the administration.