LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — A scholarship fund in memory of Isaiah Torres, a six-year-old Bella Vista boy murdered in 2015 by his father, has been established at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC).
Torres' life was tragically cut short on March 30, 2015 after he suffered severe child abuse by his mother and father. Isaiah's cause of death was acute peritonitis and sepsis, as a result of having been sodomized with a stick by his father at a family camping trip as a punishment.
His medical examiner also observed injuries consistent with Chronically Battered Child Syndrome.
At his third trial in February 2023, a Benton County jury convicted Torres' father, Mauricio Torres, of First Degree Battery and Capital Murder and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The boy's mother, Cathy Torres, is also serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Isaiah Torres Memorial Scholarship Fund partnered with NWACC to establish to the scholarship, which will invest in the education of NWACC students pursuing degrees in Social Work or Child Advocacy Studies.
"We honor ]Isaiah's] memory by investing in the education of Bachelor of Science in Social Work undergraduates who will work to improve the care of infants, children, and adolescents through the prevention, identification, management, and treatment of child abuse and neglect with an additional emphasis on collaborative community awareness, advocacy, and education," said Amy Gourley, founder of the Isaiah Torres Memorial Scholarship Fund.
"The best future case worker may not have the financial means to further their education, and we as a community can change that in Isaiah’s honor. You could help provide an education to someone that helps remove a child from an abusive situation like Isaiah," Gourley said.
"I sat in my car after attending the third trial's sentencing in February 2023 unsure of how I felt about [Mauricio Torres'] life sentence and even more unsure about his cries for an appeal as he was escorted back into the patrol car," she said. "I thought about Isaiah and how I would’ve felt living his life for those six years. I would have wanted someone to stand up for me. I would have wanted someone to speak for me when I felt I had no voice. I would have wanted someone to share my story."
"Isaiah's unspeakable truth demands we break the silence."
Gourley stated her intention to lobby congressmen and women to advocate for higher wages and additional training for new hires in the Department of Human Services' Children and Family Services division.
You can donate to the Isaiah Torres Memorial Scholarship Fund at https://nwaccfoundation.org/donate, simply specify the scholarship name.