CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - One afternoon he's playing, and hours later he's gone.
As Levi Collom's family tries to cope with his sudden still unexplained death, they work to keep his spirit alive.
Family members of a little boy who died suddenly say they now know more about what caused his death, yet they are still searching for answers.
Levi Collom of Benton passed away March 18. His mother says he was playing just before he went down for a nap. His father found him unresponsive not long after.
Ellie Collom says the medical examiner ruled Levi's death to be natural or unknown, also stating he "likely died as a result of a complication of a febrile seizure."
His family talked Thursday about the little boy taken from them all too soon, and plans to let Levi's legacy live on
"I just thought how could this happen, he was three-and-a-half," said Ellie Collom.
Levi Collom, a toddler full of life. His mom Ellie says he was the perfect little boy.
"Just that he was the sweetest baby," she said. "I mean he would always love you, hug you and kiss you and sit on your lap."
Collom says her son loved super heroes, trips to the river and spending time with his close knit family.
"He was my grandson, he was like part of me," said his Grandmother, Viney Mosley.
Mosley says he just made everything special.
"What I miss the most is not being able to hold him," she said.
Levi's family still isn't over the shock of losing him so quickly. On March 18 the unexpected happened.
"We woke up as a family on a Saturday like normal," Ellie said. "He said he wasn't feeling good. He was cold and he and his sister were cuddled on the couch."
Levi had a temperature but didn't stay down long. He played in the yard with his dad, and went down for a nap.
"Glenn says he went in about one or so to check on him, and Levi woke up and said he was still sleepy and wanted to sleep," said Ellie. "So he let him. He went down stairs wasn't 5 or 10 minutes and he came back upstairs and that's when he found Levi. He wasn't breathing, he started CPR."
Eventually they flew Levi to Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis. They worked on him for hours.
"We just couldn't bring him back," said Ellie. "It's just like we were in a strange place and then to have them say he couldn't do anything."
"Here's a healthy happy little boy who went to school took a nap and didn't wake up and there's still no explanation," said Viney Mosley.
To this day they still don't know exactly what caused Levi's death. Though Ellie says she's found support through a program called Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, and SUDCs research into situations like Levi's. She believes Levi's death may have been linked to a seizure he had when he was just one and a half.
"You just don't want to see that there's another family that has to go through this and not have any answers," said Ellie.
Now the family finds strength as they work on a memorial to keep Levi's memory alive. It will be at one of Levi's favorite places, the Cape Girardeau Discovery Playhouse.
"I just want him to be remembered, we don't want his death to be a nothing," said Glenn, Levi's dad.
"After Levi passed there's definitely a void," said family friend Gina Crabtree. "Just the whole shock of him being gone."
Crabtree got the ball rolling to raise funds.
"It started small and it has just erupted because of everybody's generosity," she said. "A little boy with a big personality and an even bigger legacy."
The family says donations continue to pour in.
Levi's sister Victoria says she can't wait until the exhibit is complete.
"I'm gonna feel happy because other kids can feel what he likes see what he likes," Victoria said.
She says there, she'll feel closer to the brother she misses so much.
"You couldn't ask for anybody else, you couldn't ask for anything better," she said.
There's a big fund raiser planned Friday night at Jeremiah's in Sikeston. That's when the exhibit for the Discovery Playhouse will be unveiled.
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