Young man to help raise his late stepbrother's child

LILLEA-Charlotte Faith O'Keefe never got the chance to meet her father, Liam Arndt.

Liam, 18, was killed in a tragic car crash at Grong Grong on July 25 while moving to New South Wales with his partner, Kailah O'Keefe.

Kailah was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of the crash and was left with a compound fracture to her right leg, a fractured pelvis and a broken nose and eye socket.

Liam's stepbrother Dakota Smith played a vital role in raising funds to bring Liam's body back to Hervey Bay where his family, including his father, Brad, were grieving his loss.

In October, Dakota decided to move from Hervey Bay to Darlington Point, where Kailah and Liam had decided to raise their baby, to see if he could lend Kailah and her family a hand ahead of Lillea's birth.

In January, the friendship that had developed between the two turned to romance and they started seeing each other, Dakota said.

On Valentine's Day, Kailah delivered Lillea-Charlotte Faith.

Her name has special significance for both of them, as they often called Liam Li Li.

Charlotte was the girl's name Liam and Kailah had decided on before his death and the couple decided on Faith because that's what got them through the pain of losing Liam after the crash.

Dakota said their families had been very supportive of their relationship.

He said Kailah's family was grateful she was involved with someone who knows her tragic story and who will give her all the love and support she needs.

Dakota Smith with his late stepbrother's daughter Lillea-Charlotte Grace.
Dakota Smith with his late stepbrother's daughter Lillea-Charlotte Grace. Contributed

Below: family self-portrait

Kailah O’Keefe and Dakota Smith with baby Lillea-Charlotte Faith who is named in honour of her late father, and Dakota's stepbrother, Liam Arndt.
Kailah O’Keefe and Dakota Smith with baby Lillea-Charlotte Faith who is named in honour of her late father, and Dakota's stepbrother, Liam Arndt.


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