An emotional funeral service has been held for the three-year-old boy who was found dead on a child care bus in Cairns last month, six hours after he was supposed to be dropped off.
Some 500 mourners attended the service of Maliq “Meeky” Namok-Malamoo who died in Cairns on February 18.
His mother, Muriel, said “Meeky was a thumbs up boy” who would always give a thumbs up when asked if he was okay, The Cairns Post reports.
He loved Shrek and playing with his train.
“Everybody is sad that we won’t see Meeky grow up from this gorgeous little three-year-old boy, to a strong, gifted, intelligent and respectful man,” she said.
The toddler’s grandmother, Shireen Malamoo, said the family will carry their grief for life.
Two staff members from the Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Edmonton, near Cairns, have been charged with manslaughter following the child’s death.
Police allege the boy was collected from an address in Mount Sheridan around 9am in order to attend a local daycare centre.
But the boy was then allegedly left inside the vehicle unattended for several hours before being found dead in the carpark outside Hambledon State School in the southern suburb of Edmonton at 3.15pm.
Company officials said he would have been strapped into a car seat when he was picked up, as per policy.
After the incident, Julia Davison, the CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, said “we will do anything we possibly can to reach out and support the family” of Maliq.
“It is every family’s worst nightmare that something might happen to their child and it is every educator’s worst nightmare something might happen to a child in their care,” she said.
Last week, Maliq’s uncle Nick read a statement from the family at a press conference where he thanked the police for their support.
He said that from an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander’s perspective, the family was now in “sorry business” and pulling together to overcome the loss.
“For us as a family it’s an unprecedented incident and consequently it has affected the larger community and that’s been demonstrated by the support our families have received,” Nick said, at the time not naming Maliq due to cultural reasons.
“He was a three-year-old boy, deeply connected to his siblings, peers and older children and played a big part in a very close knitted family.
“As you can imagine the sudden loss of our little boy has been distressing for the family.
“It’s left many of us with the difficult task of trying to come to terms with his loss.”
Flowers and teddies were also left outside the school last month in memory of Maliq.
– with AAP