NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville mother is turning tragedy into a sign of hope.
Aaliyah Ingram, 13, was killed earlier this year. Since then, loved ones have been working with the city of Nashville to honor her life.
At the intersection of Paragon Mills and Aster Drive, you’ll find the constant sound of cars driving by. However, for Natalie Chastain, it’s a constant reminder of what happened here almost one year ago.
“I’m trying to make something positive out of it, because I honestly feel like I’m being choked every time I come past this area,” said Chastain as she held back tears.
As she overlooked the exact area where her daughter was found dead, those who knew Aaliyah the most will easily tell you the grief hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been hard. I mean we still think about her all the time,” Makisha McCord said as tears ran down her face. “Sorry, my daughter still thinks about her.”
McCord is a close family friend and remembers the late-night memories with Aaliyah.
On that November night, Aaliyah had left her mother’s home late one night. By morning, when she never returned, they knew something was wrong.
“Then we get the next phone call two days later having to ID her body. It was the worst thing ever,” remembered McCord.
Just three months after Metro police released information about Aaliyah’s death, 15-year-old Cesar Martinez turned himself in on an arrest order charging him with vehicular homicide.
“Thankful he did,” Chastain said in response to Martinez turning himself in. “I mean, that’s all I can say. I mean, I’m thankful he did. I’m not going to get what I want out of this, and no amount of justice regardless of what big or small is not going to change the fact that she’s still not here, and everyone involved still has a life.”
Now the area where Aaliyah died will live on in her memory. Since her death, her mother has been working on a cross to stand in the spot where Aaliyah’s body was found.
“I’ve got butterflies with her name, with her dates on it, and I also got solar butterflies that will light up at night time,” said Chastain.
Chastain also explained a new dedicated sign is set to be put up within the next 10 days in partnership with the city. Until then, Aaliyah’s mother is hopeful witnesses from that night will come forward to give more clarity on what happened the night she died.