ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and an Altus family is trying to bring awareness to the month dear to their hearts.
Two local experts believe that 2-year-old Curtis Hofmann was abused to a point that it lead to his death in 2013.
Wednesday afternoon, Curtis' family and some of the people who worked on his case placed pinwheels donated by the District Attorney and DHS at his grave to remember him.
Tatum Hofmann and her family are trying to do to keep her son's memory alive bring awareness to child abuse.
"He was so active," Tatum recalled. "He loved anything that had to do with a ball. Bath time was his favorite time. As soon as he'd hear the bathwater, he'd run, take off his shirt, take his diaper off, throw it in the trash as fast as he could. He couldn't wait to get in. He just stands at the tub and waits and he would not get out until all the water had drained."
In 2013, Tatum said she was at work while Curtis was at home with her now former boyfriend. She said that's when he was abused.
"By the time I got home that night he was already in bed, and by the time I woke up that morning he was gone," Tatum said.
Her ex-boyfriend was charged with three counts of child abuse with injury and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Oklahoma DHS's website said in 2016 they had nearly four thousand cases of child abuse in the state. Jackson County First Assistant District Attorney David Thomas said child abuse is a crime that happens in secret, but said there are signs to be able to tell if it's happening.
"Does the child have bruising in places that a child normally wouldn't bruise? Is the child acting out, hungry, is he seeking a safe place? Does he not want to go home? Things like that. We gotta watch for those signs because if we don't pick them up, unfortunately, we end up out here," Thomas said.
Tatum said anyone who sees something, should say something. She said don't take the risk of not saying something.
"I would not want anyone else to have to feel what I feel or what my family feels or has to go through every day," Tatum said. "The what if's, the why's, the how's the who's is some blanks that you don't want to have to fill in with your imagination."
Tatum and her family want people to know when the month ends that doesn't mean child abuse ends too. She and her mom plan to hand pinwheels to those in the community this weekend to raise awareness about child abuse.