The family of Riley Turner have thanked their local community for their support following his tragic death last week.
The four-year-old was found in his Harewood Road house in the Bracken Bank area of Keighley on Sunday, January 20, by his distraught mother, Sharon Smith, and stepfather Guy Earwaker.
Paramedics and the police were called, and Riley was rushed to Airedale Hospital, where he was declared dead.
Anwar Rosser, 32, was arrested and has since been charged with Riley’s murder.
In their first official statement since his death, Riley’s family thanked the people of Keighley for the support offered since the tragedy, and described him as a “bubbly, happy child.” They also released the first official picture of Riley since his death, showing the boy smiling in his Worth Valley Primary School uniform. The four-year-old was a twin brother to Kenzie Turner.
Neighbours are holding a fundraising event this weekend to raise money for his family, and Bradford Council have offered counselling to the local community and Riley’s schoolfriends.
The family statement said: “We would like to thank members of the Keighley community for their support and kind wishes.
“Riley was a bubbly, happy child and loved dearly by his family.”
Cheryl Edge, headteacher at Worth Valley Primary School has also paid tribute to Riley, calling him a “well liked pupil” and “lively and enthusiastic boy with a cheeky sense of humour.”
Bracken Bank residents have arranged a benefit night on Saturday at the Bracken Arms pub to support the family. The event, which runs from 1pm, will feature a raffle, auction, and singing performances.
Local councillor Keith Dredge said he wanted both the family and the wider community to know the council were still there to offer support adding: “The whole thing is absolutely devastating. We are here to help, but we don’t want to push ourselves on people.
“Part of our duty as a council is to protect the welfare of our children, and it is so sad that Riley will never reach his full potential.”
Rosser, of Harewood Road, will appear before Bradford Crown Court in April for a plea hearing.