Beating victim Derrion Albert still has no gravesite marker - Dallas News |

Beating victim Derrion Albert still has no gravesite marker

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

UPDATE: After this story aired, an anonymous donor stepped up to buy the marker for Derrion's resting place and contribute to the fund to assist the family financially.

Anjanette Albert's mother rests on one side of the masoleum, her son on the other in a south suburban cemetery. But, she doesn't visit very often. She says its hard for her to look at her son's crypt, because it says nothing about Derrion Albert.

Albert describes what she would like for the memory the 16-year-old honor roll student, whose death has been witnessed by millions in a heart-stopping video of an after-school brawl near Fenger High School in 2009.

"You know, maybe beloved son, brother and his name and then we like the praying hands in between the dates," she says.

The world saw the video and then showed up at her door.

"Because it was a lot of media around, I think they wanted their 15 minutes, you know what I'm saying?" Albert says. "People were saying that they were family, and I am an only child, I have no brothers or sisters. There were people speaking on my behalf."

Reverend Renaldo Kyles, Director of Faith-based Initiatives for CPS, recalls the frenzy to fix Fenger High School after the Derrion Albert killing. The U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Education came to town, the Safe Passage program was born, and millions in donations and grants have gone to the school because of what happened to Derrion Albert.

"Once it went viral, everybody got a piece of it," Kyles remembers. "I mean, the day we went to the school, close to 200 pastors that came and the Fenger that we know of back then is not the Fenger of today. It's a great school."

There was no such silver lining for Derrion's mother or sister, though Reverand Kyles says he and the district offered guidance and assistance.

"We contribute over $1,500 per student that comes from our Children First Fund," Kyles explains. "We pay money directly to funeral homes and cemeteries."

But on the day of Derrion's funeral…

"When we got over there at 10, they wouldn't let me see him," Albert says. "They said that nothing had been paid for and they didn't know if he was even ready."

With the services just hours away, Albert says she had to pay the funeral home with insurance money intended for the cemetery.

"You paying different people for everything, I mean it costs $10,000 to put them in this wall," she continues.

Minister Louis Farakhan paid for that, but it did not include the headstone and no one at CPS knew of the need.

"At the time, there was so many people involved and the mother of course being tragically hurt over the loss of her son," Rev. Kyles says.

During the funeral itself, there was a special offering for the family.

"I was very troubled to hear when she informed me that she never received one penny of that money," he adds.

"I don't know exactly how much money was raised, but nobody even offered to buy him a shirt or a suit," says Anjanette.

FOX 32 reached out to the pastor who held the service. No answers yet, as to what happened to all that money.

The death of her son Derrion was only the beginning of a downward spiral for his family. His mother suffers from post-traumatic stress, and has been unable to work. She doesn't have money for bus fare, internet service or even groceries. Derrion's 15-year-old sister has no computer, printer, or internet for homework. She has to get to school early or try to stay late to complete assignments.

The CPS chaplain is collecting donations for a proper headstone, and several local pastors are arranging a Thanksgiving meal for the family.

To donate to the Derrion Albert Family Fund:

P.O. Box 195222

Chicago, IL 60619

Attn: Sheryln Russell


For more information about other possible donations or help, email:

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