Family remembers Sophia Acosta on her fourth birthday

EXETER, Calif.

A father's message scribbled on a pink balloon to his little girl, "Daddy loves you, always and forever."

Nearly nine months since his daughter was killed, Obie Acosta can't believe he won't get to hug his daughter on her birthday. "I feel lost right now, it's supposed to be a happy day but it's not and, you're supposed to spend time with your kids and everything."

On Sunday, /*Sophia Acosta*/'s family gathered in Exeter to remember the little girl with a moment of silence and bright balloons. "Just her smile, her smile, she was so energetic, she was the sweetest little girl anybody could ever meet," said Sophia's aunt, Ashley Acosta.

On May seventh, at an Exeter apartment, police found Sophia severely injured and not breathing. She died four days later.

Her mother's live in boyfriend, /*Christopher Cheary*/ is facing murder and sexual assault charges. The charges include several special circumstances -- including torture, which could have Cheary facing the death penalty, if convicted.

But her family says Sophia's mother, Erika Smith should be prosecuted for child neglect. Smith did not attend the event.

"She knew it was ongoing, she admitted to knowing about the drug usage, about the domestic violence going on between them. There is police reports of her admitting that so I don't see how they have not arrested her yet," said Ashley Acosta.

On Sunday, they let go of the balloons for Sophia, knowing the memories would remain.

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