Family starts foundation honoring 2-year-old molested, murdered

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An Upstate family is turning pain into power. 

A new foundation in honor of Brantley Smith, the 2-year-old who was molested and murdered in Laurens, will raise awareness about child abuse in hopes of preventing another tragedy. 

“Our grandson went through a tremendous death that no person should ever have to go through,” Bobby Fowler, Brantley’s grandfather, told 7News. 

Fowler’s daughter and the little boy’s mother, Jessica Smith, is charged in her child’s death. 

Smith’s boyfriend, William Looper, is also behind bars charged with beating, molesting and murdering the toddler. 

“Where do we stand with the investigation? Are you allowed to talk about it?” asked 7News reporter Stefany Bornman. 

“No ma’am. It’s ongoing and we’ve been asked to keep that part quiet,” Fowler said.

The tragedy is a nightmare Smith’s grandparents live with everyday and still have yet to wrap their minds around.

“All we can say is we are changed,” said Cheryl Fowler, Brantley’s grandmother. “Like forever.” 

This family will try to turn their pain into power by reaching others suffering in silence, just like their grandson, through a community fundraiser at the Laurens County Recreational Park on Aug. 11.

“We’re hoping to spread the word that there is help out there,” said Bobby Fowler. “So we are going to start a foundation that if you come forward, as a wife or mother, and need help or if a kid comes forward, we are going to give you a safe place to go.”

Through the funds collected from the event filled with food vendors, live music, local child advocacy groups and police, the Fowler’s will start Brantley’s Hope Foundation. Their message to others is simple, there is hope after abuse.

“His hope, I know as my grandson, who is very precious, would be that nobody should ever go through what he went through.” Bobby Fowler told 7News. 

The Fowler’s tell 7News they are fighting for custody of their other two grandchildren and Brantley’s older brothers. 

For more information about the event, click here. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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