FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A grove at a Fall River park was renamed to honor the life of David Almond.
The 14-year-old boy with autism died two years ago, when he was found at a Green Street home in a state of neglect. Friday, on the second anniversary of Almond’s death, advocates and elected officials gathered to unveil a sign that will remind parkgoers of the teen’s tragic death.
“And when they Google his story, they will be shocked and disturbed,” State Rep. Carole Fiola said. “But it will keep him in the hearts and minds and prayers of those people and many others.”
Fiola and state. Sen. Michael Rodrigues pushed for the legislation that renamed the grove in Almond’s honor. Community activist Michael Almeida said the dedication should remind people the disability community needs support.
“Even though he passed to a tragedy, that his name will not die,” Almeida added. “And people will know his story and stuff like this won’t happen again.”
A report released in May 2021 determined that a “multi-system failure” contributed to Almond’s death, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Today we honor his memory, vow to commit to provide better safeguards and protective services for all children, and create a permanent reminder that this should never happen again,” Fiola said.
Police said Almond weighed only 85 pounds and was living in abhorrent conditions when he was found. His brother, Michael, was also found to be malnourished.
His father, John Michael Almond, and his girlfriend Jaclyn Marie Coleman were indicted in 2021 on charges of second-degree murder and neglect of a disabled person resulting in serious bodily injury.
Almeida asked people to be vigilant and to call officials if they are concerned for a child’s well-being.
“If you see something, say something, because even it’s nothing … but what if it isn’t?” Almeida said. “You just saved a kid’s life.”