In a touching but tragic photo posted to Instagram, Kowal holds the scraped hand of his child.
The Sweden-born athlete captioned the picture, “Good night bebisen [baby], you’ll always be with us. Pappa älskar dig [Daddy loves you].”
Liam’s mother, Mishel Eder, shared a similar photo on Instagram. She holds the toddler’s hand, which is covered in bandages and scratches, while a green plush toy sits next to the child.
“Saying good bye to my light, my love before he goes to save lives,” Eder wrote. “This pain is unbearable. Liam, I love you. Hug your children, kiss them always. Don’t lose patience. Laugh with them often. Get off your phones and play games. #rememberliam”
Kowal also shared an emotional video on Instagram begging fans not to drive under the influence.
“It’s been about four hours since I left the hospital where I said goodbye to my 15-month baby for the last time,” he somberly says to the camera. “Three days ago, he got hit by a drunk driver. I’m not a paid actor. This is not a commercial. This is reality. What I can say is: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t let a friend drink and drive. Please.”
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According to a statement by Hawthorne, California, police, Liam was in his stroller going for a walk with his 15-year-old aunt when they were both struck by a car while crossing the street.
Police found the two victims in the street near the crosswalk, police said. The teen suffered leg injuries while the toddler was found “pulseless and not breathing.”
Police allege the driver of the vehicle, 72-year-old Donna Marie Higgins, attempted to flee the scene but was stopped with the help of witnesses.
After performing a field sobriety test, police allegedly determined that Higgins was driving under the influence, according to the news release. She was arrested on charges of felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving.
In an update, police said Higgins was released after posting bail, which was set at $100,000. It was unclear whether she has entered a plea or retained an attorney.
Kowal announced in a Facebook post Monday that Liam’s organs would be donated “so that his little heart can make another child live and another set of parents not have to go through what we have to.”
“It hurts to write this but Liam loved to share and the person we were going to raise him to be would love to help someone else,” Kowal wrote.