Call to action rally in San Antonio calls for end of child abuse

The rally was organized just days after 12-year-old Danilo Coles and 5-year-old Mercedes Losoya were killed after alleged child abuse.

SAN ANTONIO – The basketball court at Al Forge Park was transformed into a stage for an anti-child abuse rally. Organizers, state representatives and law enforcement gathered to say enough is enough.

”These children are not just a statistic -- they matter. They’re our children,” Representative for District 124 Ina Minjarez said.

This call to action rally comes just days after two separate, horrific cases of alleged child abuse led to the deaths of 12-year-old Danilo Coles and 5-year-old Mercedes Losoya.

”This isn’t just abuse, this...this was straight up murder,” Carrie Wilcoxson said.

For 25 years, Wilcoxson has worked as a child abuse prevention advocate.

Hearing about the alleged beatings and treatment of both Danilo and Mercedes inspired her to organize this rally, to show the community the winds of change are blowing.

“We really need to be come back to the table and work smarter on how we’re examining our state department, our child welfare system,” Wilcoxson said.

In Mercedes’ case, SAPD Chief William McManus says both Child Protective Services and his department were involved yet there was still a failure to protect the little girl. It’s leaving him at a loss on a solution to this heartbreaking problem.

”We say enough is enough over and over again but apparently it, you know, it just doesn’t stop. And I don’t know how to change. I don’t know how we change people’s behavior to make them stop,” Chief McManus said.

Mercedes’ family held her photos and cried as the community lifted their hands to pray for the lives ended by violence, praying for the winds to truly bring change.

“Horrible, horrible tragedy with that little girl and that little boy prior to her,” McManus said.

One of the biggest messages shared -- the community needs to step up and help children in need.

Also, if you see something, say something. A call for intervention could save a life.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.