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Panther Springs Park opens for boy, 7, killed

7-year-old accident victim memorialized at new wilderness park in Stone Oak

SAN ANTONIO – It's been a long road for the McDaniel since Wyatt McDaniel was killed in a sand pile accident. But now there's a way for other children to walk in his steps at the new Panther Springs Park.  It's a new 300-acre wilderness park, with 3 miles of paved walking trails, one of which is named "Wyatt's Way."

Wyatt's mother, Lara McDaniel, says she is overwhelmed by the caring of the community and thoughtfulness to have this area set aside in his memory.  "It makes me speechless that a little boy just 7 years old would have such a huge impact on the city. It's just huge.  It means so much to my family because it's his legacy, "she said at the ribbon cutting Wednesday.  Wyatt was killed in a sand pile collapse two years ago. He was a student at Wilderness Oak Elementary and was a frequent visitor to the nearby library. Wyatt's Way is now a paved section of trail that will take children between the two buildings.

Wyatt's little sister and brother were on hand to help cut the ribbon with city officials. They too were touched by her story of loss and feel this park will make a difference in many children's lives. City Councilman Joe Krier noted the park has no soccer fields, but that is what residents are now looking for. "It is something that allows residents of a very urban city to experience Mother Nature the way she really is," he said.

Along with deer and wildlife, Panther Springs Park also includes the city's sixth dog park.  "I know that he would be so excited to be running through the woods, looking at the rocks, looking for flowers.  This is his element," said McDaniel.

With the help of state Sen. Donna Campbell, a bill was recently introduced to ensure that parents are allowed the right to see their deceased child prior to autopsy unless CPS or law enforcement obtains a court order. McDaniel has been outspoken about her family's treatment in the aftermath of Wyatt's death in January 2013 at the age of 7.

For more information on Panther Springs Park click here.

For more on Wyatt's Law, visit the Wyatt's Page group on Facebook.