by: Jenna Deery Updated:
WEDDINGTON, N.C. - Kilah Davenport, the little girl who was severely beaten by her stepfather, died Thursday night, just weeks before her fifth birthday.
Kilah's story has touched so many people locally and across the country.
For years the little girl fought through health problems caused by the abuse and her tragic story inspired lawmakers to take action.
Rep. Craig Horn, who drafted Kilah's Law, said he and several lawmakers, including Gov. Pat McCrory are grief-stricken by the loss.
But they find comfort in knowing Kilah will forever be a part of North Carolina.
“She's a part of history,” Horn said. “She's a part of our lives in North Carolina. Thank God.”
Horn first met Kilah and her family in her hospital room in 2012.
In 2012, her stepfather Joshua Houser severely beat her and threw her into a wall while he was babysitting her at their home in Indian Trail. That incident caused brain damage.
“How terrible to have to pay that price for that child,” Horn said. “That's when we began to talk about a law named after Kilah.”
Houser was convicted in February of felony child abuse and sentenced to serve seven to 10 years behind bars.
He was not held accountable under Kilah's Law, which went into effect in December.
That law requires anyone convicted of a felony child abuse to face 25 years to life in prison.
“We need to be clearly identifying people that do this and ensure that we handle them appropriately,” Horn said. “That is not how you parent and you're going to be held accountable for your actions.”
Horn said he has talked to the Union County District Attorney's Office and the sheriff about whether Houser could face murder charges for Kilah's death. That hasn't been decided yet.