I remember getting the call like it was yesterday.
A little boy was missing in Savona, Steuben County. Though I have lived here all my life, I had no idea where that was. But I would end up spending many days in this tiny town.
When we arrived, neighbors were outside their homes. It was a warm, humid August night. Hours later, four-and-a-half-year-old Derrick Robie's body was found.
People were crying, distraught, fearful.
Who would kill this little boy? Was it a drifter? A stranger who snatched the little boy on his path to summer school and killed him in the woods? Surely it must have been someone who didn't live there.
People were afraid thinking that a killer was wandering in their small town where many people didn't lock their doors.
But something even more shocking was revealed three days later.
They would learn that the killer was a teenager. A neighbor. Thirteen-year-old Eric Smith.
Smith told his grandfather that he killed the little boy.
Derrick Robie was beaten with a rock and sexually abused. Smith would later admit he was angry and jealous of the little boy.
We returned to Savona many times to learn more about this beautiful boy named Derrick. We met his parents, Dale and Dori who were grief-stricken, shocked.
We also learned that Eric Smith had a dark past. Relatives said he abused and killed animals. He also admitted his anger stemmed from being bullied because of his red hair and freckles.
But was any of this reason to kill an innocent, four-and-a-half-year-old child?
Smith was sentenced nine years to life. The Robies, say they too were given a life sentence the day Eric Smith murdered their son.
They have fought to keep Smith in prison, and stepped up their fight this year, fearing he might be released.
This year was harder for the Robies. Their younger son turned 20 and is engaged. With each milestone, brings another memory of Derrick.
They say nothing takes away the pain of what Smith did and they believe he deserves no mercy.
The Robies say their son was "all boy." Someone who loved his family, his little brother and had a caring heart.
They don't want to have to re-live their son's murder every two years and are working with state lawmakers to change the law so child killers wouldn't get the chance at freedom so often.
For now, they want the peace of knowing the person who killed their son, is serving the same sentence they say they were given the day Derrick was murdered....life.
They gave the parole board an emotional video of Derrick they made. It contains never-before-seen pictures of their son, some taken just a week before he was killed.
It ends with a statement from Dori and Dale Robie saying: "thanks for sharing memories of our son...it is all we have left."