‘Our little hero’: Family of 22-month-old Lincoln boy donates his organs, shares his story

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The family of a 22-month-old boy who was killed is sharing the beautiful memories he left behind.

Rudy Jr. was born in April 2021.

Just 22 months later, on March 15, he was pronounced dead.

Lincoln Police have arrested two people, including the boy’s mother, in connection with his death. They allege that it was the result of child abuse.

His family said his life was impactful to many.

Rudy’s grandmother, Cassandra, said when she found out Rudy was deaf, she wanted to find a way for him to hear her voice.

“What I would do is take his little hand and I’d put it here on my throat, on my chest and talk to him, or I’d put it on my mouth so that he could feel my words,” she said. “I liked his little crooked smile and the way he would jump up and down and screech.”

Rudy’s older sister, only 8 years old, said his laugh was one of her favorite memories of him.

“We used to play with him, and I used to tickle him and he would start laughing,” said his sister, whom Channel 8 is not identifying. “He had the cutest laugh.”

The family said Rudy had a special relationship with his sister.

“No matter who was around, Junior would run to his 8-year-old sister,” Cassandra said. “He would choose her over anybody. I used to love seeing that.”

His sister reminisced on their time together.

“I would do my homework, and then I would grab him and he would never let go of me when I grabbed him out of his crib,” she said.

The family said it was a difficult decision, but they chose to have Rudy’s organs donated.

“I feel like our little hero has given other children the opportunity to live,” Cassandra said.

Through the grief, the family said they’ve stayed strong with support from the community and their friends.

His great-aunt Michelle Ieflin said they wanted to tell Rudy’s story to help others and to let his life have a lasting impact.

“I mean, just look at that precious face,” she said. “I believe that his life was to spread awareness and help other children survive, and we will let his legacy live on.”

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