Shadeana Seagers mourns the death of her son, Del'Quan

Shadeana Seagers is comforted by her son Da'Vone Silas, 9, and aunt Beverly Henderson at a candlelight vigil at the grave of her 16-year-old son Del'Quan. He died two years ago at a juvenile justice wilderness camp. Leroy Burnell/Staff

Shadeana Seagers didn't get closure two years ago when her teenage son died suddenly, and she didn't get it on Saturday night either.

On the second anniversary of her oldest child's death, surrounded by people who also loved Del'Quan, she lit candles adorned with images of Jesus and Mary. When her tears broke through, her younger son walked over and hugged her, saying nothing, not needing to.

Da'Vone Silas, now 9 years old, rested his head on the spot where his big brother smiled back from a tattoo on his mother's chest. Da'Vone is the big boy now.

His sister, Deanasia, watched on. At 17, she's the oldest now, among the living children.

Family walked over, laying hands on Seagers, wrapping her in love and support. Her mother, an aunt, a cousin.

It helped to feel loved. But it didn't ease the pain of not knowing.

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Shadeana Seagers mourns the death of her son, Del'Quan

Shadeana Seagers held a candlelight vigil Saturday at the grave of her 16-year-old son Del'Quan, who died suddenly two years ago at AMkids Sand Hill, a wilderness camp for low-level youthful offenders. Leroy Burnell/Staff

Del'Quan died when he was 16 years old, five weeks after being sent to a remote juvenile justice wilderness camp almost 150 miles away from home. 

Questions about his death remain.

They led to a serious rebuke earlier this year by state auditors who criticized the state Department of Juvenile Justice for failing to thoroughly investigate claims that foul play was involved.

Then, several weeks ago, a Post and Courier investigation into Del'Quan's death revealed reports of at least two boys in Del'Quan's dorm that night who said several boys had punched him in the chest before he collapsed. An autopsy ruled his death due to asthma, though the telltale signs of a death from it were missing.

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Loved ones mourn Del'Quan Seagers

Loved ones held a candlelight vigil at the grave of 16-year-old Del'Quan Seagers, who died two years ago at AMIkids Sand Hills, a remote juvenile justice wilderness camp. Leroy Burnell/Staff

About 60 of his loved ones, many of them young children and teenagers, gathered at Sunset Memorial Gardens in North Charleston in the mausoleum where Del'Quan is entombed to light candles, read poems and remember.

"No one deserves to walk in these shoes," Seagers read from a poem.

When she lit the last candle, she sank to her knees and leaned her forehead against the cool marble that bears her son's name. Balloons, flowers and photographs from his life festooned it. A life-sized cardboard cut out of Del'Quan stood guard beside her.

The sobs came then, fueled by the questions about what happened to him.

Contact Jennifer Hawes at 843-937-5563. Follow her on Twitter @jenberryhawes.

Jennifer Berry Hawes is a member of the Watchdog and Public Service team who worked on the newspaper's Pulitzer-Prize winning investigation, "Till Death Do Us Part."