Friends and family remember 3-year-old Hunter Wise

RACINE (WITI) -- 3-year-old Hunter Wise died in May after being abused by his mother's boyfriend. Saturday, July 13th, friends and family held a benefit at Curmudgeon's in Racine to remember the boy.

Joe Wise, Hunter's father, keeps the memories alive by replaying his son's voice in his head.

"Something he always said was, Dada, every night before he'd go to bed was 'love you Dada, good night,'" said Wise.

"Everything that's happened, it just makes me stronger every day, and that's what helps me get through every day," said Hunter's mother, Samantha Rush.

Hunter's parents were surrounded by loved ones, live music and raffle items as folks raised funds to be donated to charities -- one being the Child Abuse Prevention Fund -- in Hunter's name.

"Any way we can to, with this benefit, to remember Hunter and to help raise money to help prevent child abuse," said event organizer Michelle Combs.

Authorities say Hunter Wise may have died from shock and trauma after being disciplined by Marcus Johnson, his mother's boyfriend, for soiling his pants. Prosecutors described the discipline as torture -- stating that Hunter sustained an eye injury, burns on his buttocks and ankle, and may have been dipped in scalding water.

"I don't really think there will ever be closure from this. This is something I'm going to live with for the rest of my life," said Wise.

Johnson plead not guilty to murder in the death of Hunter Wise. He will stand trial.