The funeral and burial of 10-year-old Barway Collins will take place May 2, postponed to allow more time for the boy’s biological mother to travel from Liberia to attend it.
It took negotiations from three groups to move the funeral for Collins’ mother, who is expected to leave Africa on Monday, while Collins’ father, Pierre, remains in Hennepin County jail, accused of killing the boy to collect insurance money.
“This funeral for little Barway, this is what he would want — a united community coming together,” said Pastor Harding Smith, who has represented the family. “We have all wanted the mother to be here and lay her son to rest.”
The Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, African Immigrant Services and Liberian Minister Association worked to postpone the funeral. Part of the holdup, Smith said, was that Pierre Collins’ sister was on Barway’s birth certificate, not his mother, Louise Karluah. He said he doesn’t know the reason for the error, but that Collins confirmed Karluah is the birth mother.
She and Pierre Collins’ wife, Yamah Collins, will help plan the closed casket funeral. It will take place at 1 p.m. May 2 at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis and will be open to the community.
“I want this to be a united event,” Smith said, thanking the community and Sheriff Rich Stanek. He said he’s gotten some 600 calls worldwide on Barway, as well as death threats for helping the family. “We are not here to judge.”
Barway was last seen alive getting off the school bus in front of his Crystal apartment March 18. His body was found in the Mississippi River April 11. Now, his father sits in jail on $2 million bond; his request to see his son’s body before the burial was denied by a judge.