|Updated: 11/21/2013 10:27 am
||Published: 11/20/2013 10:11 pm
Neighbors say Dakota was killed and no one claimed the 3-year-old's body.
Police found him bruised, and his lips were blue. Investigators said he'd been strangled.
"We just want justice for this child," said neighbor Amber Harbison. She babysat Dakota.
"None of us could've made it through the day without seeing his smile," said Harbison.
Harbison recalled Tuesday night, when Dakota's mother asked her to watch him. He didn't have a pulse.
"What hurt most is that his mom and dad knew he was gone and still tried to push it off on someone else," said Harbison.
Dakota and his mother, Jeri Sanders, along with her husband, Buford Ellison, lived in a one-room apartment.
"The mother, Ms. Sanders confessed to knowing the child was deceased when she took him to the babysitter," said Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King.
"When it rains it pours," said Erika Lloyd.
Lloyd owns the daycare where Sanders worked. She said Ellison has terminal lung cancer, and Sanders just learned she has breast cancer.
"How do you do that with a dying cancer patient and a 3-year-old?" said Harbison.
Sanders told police she grew stressed and tired of Dakota's constant crying, so she left him with Ellison.
"We will all miss him for the rest of our lives," said Harbison.
Neighbors will hold a candlelight vigil for Dakota Thursday evening at 7 at Norris Park. They will work to raise money for Dakota's funeral.