Vigil of hope for Zaden McKnight, funeral funds at risk

Zaden McNight. (Photo/Ohio Attorney General's Office)
Zaden McNight. (Photo/Ohio Attorney General's Office)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A vigil was held in Dayton Tuesday evening, one month after the death of a mother and the disappearance of her son.

The vigil was held at Edison PreK-8 school where Zaden McKnight went to pre-school.

Vigil for Zaden McKnight
Vigil for Zaden McKnight. (WDTN Photo/Brooke Moore)

His mother was buried last week after her body was found along the Stillwater River.

Zaden has yet to be found, but is feared dead.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office added his photo to its website Tuesday hoping to flush out information that will lead to Zaden’s discovery.

The community is rallying around the family. The VFW Ohio Charities paid for Nichelle McKnight’s funeral. The non-profit organization helps thousands of veterans every year.

But, part of that funding is now at risk.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of Ohio Charities contributes about $5 million a year to local communities.

The non-profit serves veterans and their families. Just last week, the charity stepped in to help pay more than $8,000 for the funeral and burial of Nichelle McKnight.

The 26-year-old was a reservist in the air force at the time of her murder.

The non-profit also does other charity and public service work in the community.

Most of the money funding comes from the instant bingo and electronic raffle games at the 370 VFW posts across the state.

Right now, the charity is fighting to keep control of the electronic raffle games.

“Mike Dewine has said they are in a gray area and we’ve been arguing them. Kasich is opposed to us getting them legalized. We’ve got HB 325 that’s over there in the house. We’re just in limbo right now.”

Right now, the VFW of Ohio Charities has a temporary court order to continue operating those electronic raffle games.

The executive director says if the charity loses control of those machines, it would cut donations in the state by half which is about $2.5 million.

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