SAN ANTONIO – More than $1,000 was raised in a couple of days to help pay for the repair of a memorial mural dedicated to 8-month-old King Jay Davila.
Jasmine McGill, executive director for KJ’s Angels, a nonprofit group that was started in honor of King Jay -- whose body was found in January 2019 after a staged kidnapping, said the mural has a lot of meaning to many in the San Antonio community.
“There’s a lot of sentimental value behind this mural, and I just don’t understand. I can’t fathom how or why anybody could do something like this,” McGill said. “This was meant for them, for his five brothers that are at home that are wondering what happened to their brother because they’re too young to understand what has happened.”
McGill said the mural serves several purposes, one of which is to ensure that child abuse deaths don’t keep happening.
The mural with a child abuse hotline number faces Interstate 10, where it is seen by thousands daily.
“It’s pretty disheartening. It just has so much meaning and so much power and value to change San Antonio. We can change statistics with that hotline number. We can stop child abuse, and somebody is defacing that. And it just breaks my heart,” McGill said.
Hours after hearing what happened to the mural, the artist behind it, Colton Valentine, was there to fix it.
McGill said the community had already raised funds to cover the cost of paint and Valentine’s time.
Valentine said he would have done it for free because he knows the mural has so much meaning to the family.
“It’ll all be fixed. It’s all going to go back to normal. I’m going to paint it. I can paint over a thousand times. Just don’t worry about it. It’ll be alright,” Valentine said.
Valentine said he also plans to make a canvas of the mural for the family to keep at home so that if something happens to it again, they have something at home that will bring them comfort.
The owner of the building where the mural is painted, Sammy Naranjo, also expressed frustration about the vandalism.
“I think it’s selfish. I think it’s crazy that (the vandals) continue to do it on something that has so much meaning,” Naranjo said.
The cost to fix the rest of the building, which as also been spray-painted with graffiti, is going to cost thousands of dollars, Naranjo said. He said he was in the process of clearing the land around the property to install a fence when the vandalism happened.
McGill has filed a police report and has a warning for the person responsible.
“We’re asking that whoever did this come forward to us personally. We’re not going to put you on blast. We’re not going to post your name. All we’re asking is that you either help us clean up or just apologize. But if you don’t come forward, we will be pressing charges,” she said.
Three people were arrested in 2019 in connection to King Jay Davila’s death, including his stepfather, Christopher Davila. Police say the three suspects staged the kidnapping, and the child’s body was later found in a backpack.
Christopher Davila’s trial date is set for July 13.