Dakota Aryn Burke-Everett

April 19 2013 - January 8, 2015
Find A Grave Memorial

Christopher Knapp and Summer Everett got married on January 12, 2015, staring the new year off with a bang. Christopher and Summer had ALREADY started the new year off with a bang though when on December 31, 2014 they found Dakota, Summer's beautiful little 20 month old daughter unconscious in her bed and called 911 for help. Dakota was taken to Providence Hospital and medical personnel could tell that this little Angel had been abused, Police were called and they found that Dakota had bruises and burns all over her body:

"The child's hands, feet and face were burned. There was noticeable trauma to the
face and head of the child"
Police Statement

Dakota was transferred to University Of South Alabama Medical Center and for several days, she held on until her body gave out and she died on January 8. What that means is that while Dakota lay dying in a hospital, Christopher and Summer went off and got married. A reporter tried to question them:

Unidentified Woman: "Ma'am, go away,"
 
Reporter: "Did they just get married?"
 
Unidentified Woman: "Go away, It's none of your business,"
 
Reporter: "Well, it's a matter of public record,"
 
Unidentified Woman: "It has no comment to you,"
 
Reporter: "Don't you think it's an odd time for celebrating?"
 
Unidentified Woman: "Go away! They have nothing to say. Go away!"

Christopher and Summer had been married at the Mobile County Probate Court and neither they or the woman with them had anything to say about the odd behavior of getting married before Dakota was even buried. At that point, neither of the two had been named as suspects in the death, though their home had been searched in the investigation process.

An autopsy showed that Dakota had been through a lot of pain, suffering and torture before she died:

"There were multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, some as old as
a month. This child was tortured. The child was tortured and this was an ongoing
situation that eventually resulted in murder"
District Attorney - Ashley Rich

Apparently, Dakota had been being abused for quite some time before her little body just couldn't take any more and she found peace, only after dying:

"Even the burning, the burns, there were healing injuries underneath the new burns.
It was horrible"
Paul Burch - Sheriff's Office

According to the Alabama Department Of Human Resources, there hadn't been any complaints filed about the the abuse Dakota had been going through:

"We did not have any prior involvement with Dakota and against, it's a very tragic event
that happened to a child and you ask me what's the hardest part of being a Social Worker
and it is,  you know, to process and work on cases that are emotionally and physically
draining and still be able to help the family"
Angela McClintock

Angela McClintock said that anyone who works with children is legally bound to report suspected child abuse including teachers, Police, daycare employees, clergy, therapists and medical staff though she did say that family and friends are under no obligation to report what they see.

Summer Everett could be seen in television coverage, crying after she was arrested, she and Christopher were both handcuffed and being lead to the jail. Reporters asked questions:

"Is there anything you want to say for  yourself? Summer, it is it hard right now?
Do you miss your daughter?"

"Are you embarrassed? Give us something, man. Say something to us. No
proclamation of innocence? Nothing in your defense?"

Neither of the two said anything to the reporters before they disappeared into the jail.

Christopher Knapp was 24 years old and Summer Knapp was 22 years old when they were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of Dakota. Sheriff Sam Cochran said of them having been married:

"It's pretty odd. I have never seen it before, to get married even before they buried the child"

Sheriff Cochran was unable to discuss many of the details in the case but that it would all come out in court, however, he was able to say that while the couple seemed to not have any emotions about what had happened, the death of Dakota had taken a toll on Investigators:

"They have never seen such harm inflicted on a child. The child endured quite
a bit of harm before dying"

Christopher and Summer had spoken to Investigators briefly, however, as soon as they hired Lawyers they stopped talking:

"We were contacted by two Attorney's that said they were representing them and
would forbid them from speaking to us. That's kind of an impediment, but certainly
is not a deal killer in this case. We got a lot of tips through social media. We located
additional witnesses through social media. A lot of people have stepped forward to
give the Detectives necessary evidence"

While he would not discuss any specifics about the evidence in the case, Sheriff Cochran did say:

That will play out in court. We think it's very substantial evidence.
Certainly it would sustain the charges that we have against them"
Sheriff Cochran

It sounds to me like there WERE some people who knew about the abuse and for whatever reason chose not to report it which probably would have saved Dakota's life. I hope that does not turn out to be the case, all too often is ends up being the way things were.

Just a short time after she was brought to the jail, Summer had an altercation with another inmate. Initial reports said that another inmate had punched Summer and apparently there was a mix up over what Sheriff's Spokesperson Lori Myles had said or how she had worded the statement. Summer was in the intake room, described as a small area inside the jail where inmates are booked. The news reported that  Lori Myles and Jail Warden Trey Oliver had said that Summer was punched, however, they both denied they had said that:

"Another inmate merely slapped her. No injuries"
Trey Oliver - Through E-mail

"No ice was needed and there was no mark"
Lori Myles

Warden Oliver said that the other inmate was being reprimanded for her behavior.

 

Dakota's grandparents invited bikers to take part in Dakota's funeral by riding in the funeral procession on the day of her funeral which was to take place on January 17, 2015, the day I am adding her story to this site. All bikers and biker clubs were encouraged to participate in what was called: "A Ride For Dakota" and the hope was that the funeral procession would help to spread the word about child abuse awareness. The public was invited to take part in the memorial and funeral of this little Angel.

Donations were being taken at Go Fund Me to help with the costs of the funeral and burial:  http://www.gofundme.com/dakotaeverett

At the time I am writing this, $5,235.00 of the $10,000. they were asking for, had been raised.

On January 16, 2015, Christopher and Summer were in court for a bond hearing. Assistant District Attorney Jo Beth Murphee said that head trauma, including a fractured skull, had lead to the death of Dakota. A high bond was asked for by Prosecutors who believed that the couple was a flight risk and had been uncooperative with Investigators. Defense Attorney's didn't agree:

"I thought that they deserved bond because of the fact that they had no prior criminal
history. My client works for Austal or did work at Austal. He also had custody of his
four year old daughter and the mother testified in a youth center proceeding that he
was an excellent father and he had no anger problems and that he'd never harmed or
in any way inappropriately touched his own daughter"
Johnny Brutkiewicz - Lawyer For Christopher

Lt. Paul Burch felt the same way I feel about it:

"That was his daughter. He had no emotional attachment to Dakota. As for why? I can
only tell you what our law enforcement opinion is, that this child was in inconvenience
to this new couple"

Reports said that the marriage of the couple might not hold any weight:

"They weren't married at the time these acts were committed and I think that's what
important. They got married afterwards and I think that speaks volumes about them
and spousal privilege in this particular situation"
Ashley Rich - District Attorney

A bond was set for Christopher and Summer for $20,000. for aggravated child abuse with a $1,000. cash component and $150,000. bond for the murder charge with a $10,000. component. A preliminary hearing date was set for February 3, 2015.


OBITUARY:

In Memory of:
Dakota Aryn Burke Everett
April 19, 2013 - January 8, 2015

Heaven received another angel on Thursday, January 8, 2015, Dakota Aryn Burke Everett, age 20 months. Dakota will be remembered by her family as a beautiful little girl with an infectious smile who loved life and her family.

She is survived by her parents Mitchell Aaron Burke and Summer Karleigh Everett. She will be greatly missed by her loving grandparents Shannon Kay Burke, Robin and Chris Perkins, Jay and Wendy Fekety and Betsy Dykes great grandparents, Michael and Theresa Thompson, Ronald Everett, Donald and Fran Burke and great-great grandmothers Bootsie Cooley and Jackye Everett. She is also survived by uncles, Tracy Wayne Burke (Jamie), Shane Dykes, Aaron Fekety (Kim), Ethan Fekety, aunts, Jaden Cooke, Sage Cooke, Ashlyn Perkins and Ashley Burke, great-uncle Chris Thompson, numerous other aunts, uncles and family.

Visitation will be held at Radney Funeral Home on Friday, January 16, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

A celebration of Dakota's life will be held in the chapel of Radney Funeral Home on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow in Valhalla Cemetery, Sims Rd., Eight Mile, AL.

Condolences may be offered at: www.radneyfuneralhome-mobile.com

Arrangements under the direction of Radney Funeral Home-Mobile, Mobile, AL.

UPDATE: February 5, 2015

On February 3, 2015 Christoper Knapp and Summer Everett Knapp were standing before Judge Bob Sherling as they were being charged with torturing and killing Dakota. A detective revealed the details of what had happened to this little Angel in the last months of her life.

A Medical Examiner's notes told about the burns, bruises and dozens of fractures that she suffered was well as the retinal hemorrhaging, cerebral edema and brain bleeds. Prosecutors believe that the head trauma that was what killed Dakota was caused by Christopher and Detectives said that the amount of head trauma would cause immediate effects on her life:

"She wouldn't be up walking around, she wouldn't be eating dinner, she
wouldn't be talking. It would be an immediate and catastrophic reaction"
District Attorney - JoBeth Murphree

Testimony told about Dakota having been found unconscious in the home on December 30, 2014 and in court, Christopher and Summer were both handcuffed, standing side by side as the details were read:

"They are completely un-remorseful. They care about themselves and
themselves only"
Lt. Paul Burch

Summer's family was saying that she was a good mother up to the point when she started dating Christopher and that's when they started to notice bruising and Dakota started showing fear of him and they noticed that all of a sudden they were being told that Dakota would fall a lot:

"It appears that Knapp is the primary abuser, but Dakota's mother is
equally culpable because she has a duty to protect her child"
Lt. Paul Burch

"If that parents knows that there are certain things happening in that child's
life, which seems apparent in this case, that could result in death, then that
parent can be charged as well"
JoBeth Murphree

People left the court room without speaking, though they seemed to be shocked at what they had heard. Judge Sherling said:

"If a prisoner of war were to sustain this kind of treatment, I feel certain
there would be an international investigation"

Bonds were changed to cash only bonds of $170,000. for each of these monsters.

This page was created on January 17, 2015

Death occurred in the state of Alabama

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