Eli Beauregard’s grandfather has a wish for Christmas this year.
“Eli was born on Christmas Eve and it would be wonderful to have [a memorial bench] installed for Christmas 2020,” wrote Eli’s grandfather Garner Stone on a GoFundMe page he created.
Stone’s Christmas wish might just come true.
Eli’s bench is just $700 shy of becoming a reality, said his dad Robyn Beauregard this week.
“We are almost there,” Robyn added. “It’s going to be a picnic table located in the south part of the skatepark in Penticton.”
Elijah (Eli) Beauregard, 16, was stabbed shortly before 11:30 p.m. on June 27 near the intersection of Bernard Avenue and Water Street in downtown Kelowna. He succumbed to his injuries three days later.
The fatal stabbing prompted a homicide investigation by the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit (SCU).
Stone created the GoFundMe page to help pay for the picnic bench at the Penticton skatepark, Eli’s favourite place to hang out.
The cost for a city bench is $3,000 and so far $2,305 has been raised.
“In July 2019, my grandson Elijah was murdered on the streets of Kelowna. He was only 16 and had lots to give, but his life was cut short,” said Garner Stone, who set up a GoFundMe for the memorial bench.
“Eli spent most of his childhood in Penticton, he was a skateboarder and spent a great deal of his time at the Penticton Skate Park. I am hoping that his many friends and family who loved him greatly will help to install a memorial bench as a tribute to him. It will mean a great deal to have a bench as a memorial.”
“This has been a tough year for everyone, let’s end 2020 on a good note,” he added.
Tia Heartfield donated to the fundraiser and wrote, “I miss you so much, you were a great friend, I can’t wait to be able to sit at the skate park with you again.”
So far 54 people have donated for the bench.
Following Eli’s death, two candlelight vigils were held, the first one was at the Penticton skatepark on Riverside Drive.
The family and friends of Eli went nearly eight months without an arrest.
Then in February, Kelowna RCMP announced that the SCU took an 18-year-old woman into custody on Feb. 21, 2020. A charge of manslaughter has been laid in the matter. She was released from custody a few days later.
Because she was a minor at the time, her name won’t be released to the public.
Eli’s father Robyn said she has an arraignment hearing next week. But the justice system hasn’t let the family know about her court appearances.
“The justice system does nothing to inform the victim’s families. I find out most times through the internet,” he said.
His son’s death “has torn his life apart,” he said.
But Robyn said he’s made some positive moves in his life, including getting his own place right across from his parents and working as a manager at a co-op grocery store.
He’s hoping for justice for his son but doesn’t think he’ll get it in our legal system.
He thinks, if convicted, she’ll likely get probation. But he said his son’s killer will have to wake up each day, “knowing they took someone’s life.”