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Community dedicates tree to the 11 y/o danish girl killed while vacationing

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) - A tree was dedicated in Cannon Park Monday night in honor of the 11-year-old girl who was killed while vacationing in Charleston. 

While attending Monday's memorial for 11-year-old Selma Akguel, David Higgins reminisced on July 9. 


"I was in Canada at the time and I just remember feeling so helpless," Higgins said. 

Higgins rented his house to Akguel's family while they vacationed in Charleston for three days from Middlefart, Denmark. Although Higgins was away, his assistant received an unexpected phone call. 


"She called me initially when he (Akguel's father) called from the scene and it was still confusing but it was apparent something tragic had happen," he said. 

According to police, 30-year-old Jeffrey Wakefield was impaired and drove erratically through Cannon Park, striking Akguel, moments after hitting another car. Read more here


"Unfortunately they saw the worse side of Charleston," Higgins said. 

Monday night, a community hoped to change that. Local law enforcement, local officials, and people in the community came together to honor Akguel by dedicating a tree. 


"This tree really symbolizes that innocent young life and this tree is going to grow up to be big and strong and look over this park and keep everyone safe," said Adryan Sumner, memorial organizer. 

With the help of the city, local artists, and neighbors, a while magnolia tree was planted in Cannon Park, standing just a few feet tall to represent the life of the young girl who died there. With emotions high and hearts and minds lifted in prayer, the community came together to show Akguel's family they are not alone. 


"They are supported," Sumner said. "They are loved here, her life mattered."

The memorial is something Higgins says he's honored to be a part of. 

"This is what we're about," Higgins said. " Extending as much love as we can."

Community members are still accepting cards to send to the Akguel family. If interested in donating to the family via a gofundme page click here


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