Benefit picnic held to raise money for mother of 4-month-old Hal - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benefit picnic held to raise money for mother of 4-month-old Halo Stutzman who passed away

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It's been a little over a month since a 4-month-old baby from South Bend lost her life. Halo Stutzman was found not breathing at her home by emergency responders on July 10th. She died two days later from cranial cerebral trauma. Her father, Bryan Alexander Michel, has been charged with Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death. Friends of Halo's mother, Dominique Stutzman, held a benefit picnic for her.

Amanda Shields is a friend of Dominique Stutzman and the lead organizer of the picnic held on Sunday to raise money, "From day one since I heard Halo was in the hospital I just felt like I had to do something," Shields said.

Being a mother herself, Shields says she the news of Halo's passing brought her to tears. "That's what hit home because I have a 2-year-old and it hit my stomach hard. Like I seriously cannot stop crying," she said.

Shields says ever since Halo was taken to the hospital on July 10th she has made it her mission to help Dominique Stutzman in anyway she could. "It didn't matter what it was. Even if it was bringing in a few dollars. I had to help and that's when my mind started turning. What kind of fundraisers can I do? What can I do to bring in some money for Dominique?" Shields said.

After weeks of planning and with some help from her mother, Tina Harris, a picnic was held where they sold food, raffle tickets and had entertainment for children. "We're just out here as friends and family trying to raise that money and actually have a little fun too at the same time," Tina Harris said.

Organizers says they had support from many businesses. Those included Pepsi who donated the drinks, Subway who donated food, and a number of other businesses which provided prizes for the raffles.

The money raised will go to Dominique Stutzman to help purchase a gravestone for Halo as well as cover costs for a lawyer to get custody back of her other two children. Harris says as a mother it would be mixed emotions to be at something like the benefit picnic. "You can be happy that the people turned out but at the same time, it's real sad. You lost your child, you lost a baby," Harris said.

Besides the picnic, Shields has been selling “Team Halo” bracelets and had donation buckets placed outside of local businesses. She says it was all done with the intention of helping her friends get through such a difficult time. "I try to put myself in her shoes, but it's so hard. Having a child you can't even imagine the pain she's feeling," Shields said.

If you would like to donate to Halo's cause there is an account at First Source Bank called the Halo Memorial Benefit.

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