Balloon release held for Columbus toddler found dead in hot car

3-year-old Kendrick Engram, Jr. was found dead inside of a vehicle at a Columbus restaurant last Sunday.
Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 12:17 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Last Sunday night, three-year-old Kendrick Engram, Jr. was found dead inside of a vehicle in the parking lot of Wendy’s on Wynnton Road in Columbus.

Saturday, his family honored the three-year-old with a balloon release.

Family and friends gathered in front of the restaurant’s parking lot still mourning the child’s loss. They say he was a bright young boy who they will deeply miss. The family also said they appreciate all of the community’s support.

“It means a lot it really do,” said Roniya Cook, cousin.

“He was a joyful child he was very playful, fun, fun. He was just full of joy,” said Mary Russell, the child’s great grandmother.

Kendrick’s grandmother, Cassandra Thomas, told News Leader 9 in an exclusive interview that she always kept her eight grandchildren for her two daughters.

That Sunday, they made several stops - starting with church that morning and then stopped by several restaurants on Buena Vista Road. They all went home to eat and then to Walmart on Victory Drive before going back home.

Thomas said she didn’t realize Kendrick didn’t get out of the vehicle along with the other kids once they arrived home that evening.

The uncle took the SUV to Wendy’s not realizing Kendrick Engram, Jr. was in the third row of the vehicle and later found the boy dead. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said the child died from being left in the hot vehicle.

“Sometimes I just cant go to sleep because I see him in my dreams,” said Cook. “I just see him doing his little dance. I just jump out of my sleep.”

The child’s great grandmother said when one is going through something, the entire family comes in to support.

“That was the bond that we have,” Russell said. “We are very close-knit. I am going to miss everything about him because he was so joyful, full of life, full of joy.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for Kendrick’s funeral. To donate, click here.

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