Vigil planned for West Yellowstone boy who was killed

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Residents of West Yellowstone plan a candlelight vigil this weekend for a 12-year-old boy who was beaten to death earlier this month.

Organizers say the vigil for James Alex Hurley will start at 5 p.m. Sunday at the West Yellowstone City Park, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports.

Attendees are being asked to bring their own candles and to wear blue ribbons for child abuse awareness.

Hurley died on Feb. 3. His grandparents, James Sasser Jr. and Patricia Butts, and his 14-year-old uncle face deliberate homicide charges. They have not entered pleas.

Investigators said they found cellphone videos showing family members torturing and beating the boy in the months leading up to his death. An autopsy found Hurley died of blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

The family told detectives that Hurley heard voices in his head that told him to kill people, but prosecutors said they later acknowledged exaggerating Hurley's mental health issues. Detectives found no record of family reporting Hurley's behavior to law enforcement or seeking medical or psychiatric help for the boy.

Hurley had been removed from school in September 2019, court records said, and did not have contact with people outside his family for several months.

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