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Community raises thousands to help bury 6-year-old next to brother, both died of child abuse

By Magdala Louissaint

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    ANNISTON, Alabama (WVTM) — The Calhoun County community wants to give a 6-year-old killed by child abuse the proper burial he deserves.

Jessie McCormack’s captivating smile will be missed at Alexandria Elementary School.

“He’s always smiling. He was well-liked by his peers,” Jose Reyes Jr, superintendent, said.

Over the weekend, Reyes learned the 6-year-old died because of child abuse.

Police say his father, Joshua Clark, did it.

“It’s hard because, as a father, you have your own children. It’s just unfathomable how something of this nature could happen to a 6-year-old boy,” Reyes said.

Last Wednesday, Anniston police officers were called to Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center. They questioned the 29-year-old father and then arrested him. Two days later, Jessie died from his injuries. Court documents say it was from blunt force trauma caused by beating with a belt and or belt-like object and hands — signs school administrators say they never saw.

Reyes said, “This was completely out of the blue for us.”

Jessie’s younger brother, Enzo, died of child abuse, too, in 2019.

His mother, Samantha McCormack, and her boyfriend, Robert Elmore Jr., are charged and behind bars awaiting trial.

Now the Calhoun County community is stepping up to make sure both brothers are buried next to each other.

Thousands of dollars raised have surpassed what is needed for a proper headstone for Jessie.

Reyes says, “The people of Calhoun County are very close-knit; the community is even closer than that. I’m not surprised in less than 24 hours, we were able to raise the funds to do that.”

WVTM 13 out to Calhoun county’s Department of Human Resources Director to ask questions about Jessie and any signs of abuse.

They say, “We cannot comment on child welfare cases due to confidentiality laws.”

Superintendent Reyes says the money left over will allow them to build a memorial at Alexandria Elementary School.

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