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February 06, 2013 05:00 PM

Service Held For Toddler, Cause Of Death Unknown

Flandreau, SD

A police investigation is open and there's no official cause of death. But that isn't stopping the Flandreau community from gathering behind two families grieving the loss of a 14-month-old boy.

Sage Left Hand Bull died on January 26, just two weeks after returning to his birth parents. 

Prior to that, he spent 13 months living with a foster family.

And while the boy's funeral was last week in Wood, South Dakota, both families felt it was important to hold a ceremony for the community who has supported them during this difficult time.

Sage lived a short life but during his time he had a huge impact on the people who loved him.

On Wednesday at the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe's Eastman Hall, men sang in the little boy's honor.

Sage's father, Vern Left Hand Bull remembers his son as a smart boy who loved to laugh.

"I really miss him so much. I think about him every day," Vern said.

Investigators haven't said exactly what caused Sage's death.

The Moody County Sheriff's Office says he was in his parents' custody when his father found him dead.

"When I peeked in his crib, he was tipped over. I flipped him over and I was like, oh no, what happened, what happened," Vern said.

And the community, friends and even strangers who didn't even know Sage came to the apartment where he died for several days and held candlelight vigils after his death.

Now, 12-days after the 14-month-old's death, the community continues to mourn and investigators continue to search for answers.

Sage's foster mother says he was in her care for most of his life, until he was turned over to his birth parents on January 11.

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