Fund set up for slain girl’s family
August 21, 2005
FALLON – A trust fund has been set up at Bank of America to pay funeral expenses for 2-year-old Nikaliah Knoch, who died last week after she was allegedly beaten by her mother’s boyfriend.
Fallon attorney Martin Crowley opened the Julienne Camacho Family Assistance Fund to help pay for the child’s burial and expenses the family incurs because of the toddler’s death. The account number is 0049-7089-2946.
Camacho is Nikaliah’s mother. She also has a 5-year-old son, a 3-year-old daughter and is expecting another child.
Crowley said Camacho cannot return to her home where Nikaliah reportedly was beaten by Fallon resident Jose Luis Valencia Jr. on Sunday.
“Julienne tried to go in but she broke down at the door,” Crowley said. “The horror of the reality is too great and she does not want to try to get back into that house.”
Since Nikaliah’s young siblings were home when the alleged beating occurred, the mother believes it would be emotionally harmful to them to return, Crowley said.
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He said Camacho left her job at a local casino after co-workers made unkind statements about her child’s death.
“It really hurt her feelings. That people cannot be any more sensitive is beyond belief,” Crowley said.
Camacho realizes she made a bad choice in dating Valencia, he said, but certainly could not predict the final outcome.
Valencia, 27, was charged with first degree murder after Nikaliah was removed from life support at Washoe Medical Center Tuesday evening. He is being held without bail in the Churchill County Jail.
Prosecutors allege Valencia punched, kicked and hit the girl with a clothes hanger, causing injuries that led to her death.
Valencia cried in Churchill County Justice Court Thursday where he was formally arraigned on the murder charge.
Crowley has been appointed to represent Camacho in a Division of Child and Family Service case. She has not been accused of any wrongdoing linked to her child’s death. Crowley said when medics and police were called to the East Virginia Street home on Sunday because Nikaliah was not breathing, all the children were removed from the home. Their mother was at work.
While the investigation continues, the children have been placed in a foster home.
Camacho has met the foster parents and visited her son and daughter.
Crowley said he and his client did not object to the children remaining in the foster home for another two weeks.
Camacho is staying with a sister in Fallon. She said Nikaliah was called “Miss Kayla” by the family.
“She loved to dance and sing and had a beautiful voice,” Camacho said. “I really miss her. She was an amazing little girl, that’s for sure.”
Crowley stressed that any donations to the trust fund will not be used for attorney fees or go to any individual.
“It will go simply to funeral expenses, housing, food and the necessities of life,” Crowley said. “It is all above board and they absolutely need the help.”