Hundreds gather in emotional tribute to Dominick Calhoun on first anniversary of 4-year-old's slaying Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 7:53 PM Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 11:25 PM

ByKhalil AlHajal | The Flint Journal

LINDEN, Michigan -- Tens of thousands of people have reached out to the family of Dominick Calhoun since the 4-year-old was killed a year ago, and some 250 of them gathered in a park today for an emotional tribute to the boy a year after his death.

Supporters arranged hundreds of blue pinwheels in the shape of an awareness ribbon and then released balloons into the air over Finch picnic area in Linden County Park.

"Eighty percent of the people here never even met that boy," said Dominick's aunt Melanie Calhoun, of Sylvan Lake. "It blows my mind to see how many lives he's changed."

A deer at one point during the tribute poked its head through the woods and pranced across the edge of the field before hopping back into the woods.

"I think it mends the heart a little bit," said Dominick's grandfather Rick Calhoun about the gathering. "It just helps the healing process, letting Dominick know that he's got a lot of people that love him and support him."

Family members said the commemoration continues a year of efforts to raise awareness on child abuse.

"It's a terrible reason for everyone to have to meet, but it's bringing people together and it's a good thing for the kids of the future," said Dominick's father, Eric Calhoun, 29.

"It's good that all these people know about it. I would hate for it to happen to anybody else."

Dominick died on April 12, 2010,a day after he was found severely beaten in an Argentine Township apartment.

The boy's mother Corrine Baker and her boyfriend Brandon Hayes are each facing murder trials in Dominick's death.

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