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Cassius Turvey had the world at his feet. Now his family fights through the pain to keep their boy's story alive

Rhiannon Clarke -

We can't keep letting this happen.

They are the words which echo from the heartbroken Turvey family as they try to make sense of what happened to their boy.

Noongar-Yamatji boy Cassius Turvey was just 15 years old when his life was tragically cut short on October 23.

Believed to be racially motivated, Cassius was violently assaulted, allegedly by a 21-year-old white male and two others, on the streets of Midland and later passed away due to his injuries.

His mother Mechelle Turvey has bravely kept her son's name in the public to ensure everyone knows she wants justice for her son.

Described as a selfless and hardworking boy, Cassius loved the variety of life.

He played basketball with his friends, he loved fishing, he attended the youth centre and enjoyed some screentime with his Playstation 4.

"He liked school, he had a lot of energy... he just didn't like physical education," Ms Turvey said with a laugh.

"I don't know how many notes I would get - I just told them to give up."

When the assault first happened there was little coverage of Cassius' story in the news.

The case only rose to prominence when family made the gut-wrenching decision to switch his life support off.

It is hard not to compare the treatment of Cassius' story to Cleo Smith, where the media was quick to cover it and state leaders went above and beyond to ensure her return to safety.

"I guess before this happened with our boy, quite often we say amongst ourselves 'now if that weren't a black kid there (would have) been more attention on it'," Ms Turvey said.

"There seems to be a fast investigation or search for missing people when they're not Aboriginal."

Ms Turvey pointed to the two South Australian Aboriginal boys whose disappearance only went public three days after they went missing.

This is a pattern far too common when dealing with Indigenous people, leaving the community to push for justice by themselves.

The hashtag #JusticeforCassius has been trending on social media and has now amassed a strong following on Facebook.

With the continuous spread of the hashtag, Ms Turvey hopes Cassius' story will not fade from the headlines.

"There's been a big push with (social) media which actually, I believe, got the police more motivated in terms of challenging questions, also with the hospital as well, parliament..things like that," she said.

"You shouldn't have to do that, but it helps."

A younger picture of Cassius

The Turvey family has received support from far and wide in the past week, with the Indigenous community in particular rallying behind them.

"It's overwhelming, I just got two-hundred and twenty friend requests and that's because they want to send me messages," Ms Turvey said.

"I hardly know those people to be-honest, and that is absolutely beautiful.

"Then I found another hidden page with another 50."

Many Indigenous people who are fighting for justice feel they are given a foundation, but don't have the tools to build it up and follow through.

It is a cycle which doesn't go anywhere, and one Ms Turvey describes as a "racist rollercoaster".

"Aboriginal issues or are everybody's issues, let's face it," she said.

Turvey's sister, Robyn, also commented on this issue.

"When things like this happen here with Aboriginal cases like Cassie (sic), it's just our community that is screaming," she said.

"That's all I can hear, I can only hear our community screaming for justice."

Cassius' family is tired of hearing news of beatings, of murders, and of police not taking Indigenous concerns seriously.

"As black people, Aboriginal people, Noongar, Yamatji we are tired, I feel tired of having to fight the fight," Robyn Turvey said.

Although Cassius was the one attacked, he was not the only victim in this story.

His mother wants people to know that.

Cassius' friends who were with him on that day have been struggling since the loss of their close mate.

"I make sure to include the stories of the other boys that were there in the incident," Ms Turvey said.

"They are absolutely traumatised, one I had at my home last night, and he's (emotionally) distant."

Since the incident, Cassius' friends have stayed close to eachother, not wanting to be apart after what they went through.

The group of boys have shown their respect and loyalty to Cassius since he was hospitalised by catching public transport to visit him every day.

They were also right by his side when his family made the heartbreaking choice to turn his life support off.

Cassius Turvey had a bright and driven future ahead of him; he was supposed to start his first job at Kmart last weekend.

"He wanted to work, he's been asking since he was thirteen," Ms Turvey said.

"I've been telling him no you can't work for another two years."

Instead, Cassius started his own lawnmowing business where he would work for neighbours with his two mates.

They were called The Lawn Mower Boys.

It was a job they took seriously and had regular customers.

When it came down to the money, Cassius told his customers 'that's up to you to put a price on it, not me'.

The Lawn Mower boys

"People would say why are you doing this for, this is good that you are doing this," Ms Turvey said.

"And they would say 'we just wanna show you that we are not bad, we just wanna help out'."

Cassius was also excited to attend a function at Roy Hill for school, but was in hospital at the time.

His mother had to call the school to let them know he wasn't able to make it.

Cassius was devastated.

A candlelight vigil will be held on October 31 in remembrance of Cassius at Farral Oval, Stratton.

Cassius loved Halloween and dressing up, and the Turvey family encourage those who want to attend to come dressed in their best costume.


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