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Special Christmas tree pays tribute to teen hit, killed while riding bike


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SANDY — Of all the trees to see at the Festival of Trees, the one decorated with everything Harry Potter means the world to Emma Mitchell.

"There is just all this stuff on here that he loved," she said.

Her younger brother, Eli, was one of the biggest Harry Potter fans out there.

"Eli read all the Harry Potter books like 15 times," she said with a laugh. "He would read them in the car and everywhere."

However, even though she admits she hasn't really followed Harry Potter's adventures, Emma Mitchell knows not even the strongest wizard could bring Eli back.

"He passed away when he was hit by a drunk driver in April," Emma Mitchell said.

Eli Mitchell was only 13 years old when that driver hit him while he was riding his bicycle in West Jordan.

The family knew this Christmas was going to be a tough one.

"It's easy to feel alone at this time because it is the first time he's not here with us on the holidays," Emma Mitchell said.

So, to let the Mitchell family know they're not alone, friends and other family members, as well as people in their community, made the Harry Potter tree in honor of Eli.

"It just reminds me of Eli when I see it, every little bit," Lisa Mitchell, who is Eli's mother, said.

The first time she saw it, Lisa Mitchell could barely hold back her tears.

"I can't explain how it feels to lose your child. I can't explain it," she said. "But since that has happened, I just really wanted good to come."

There is no doubt this Harry Potter tree will do good.

Money raised from selling trees during the Festival of Trees goes to help kids at Primary Children's Hospital.

"It is way cool that people would care enough to do this," Jeremy Mitchell, Eli's father said.

Emma Mitchell said her brother would love this tree.

Even more, though, she believes he would love how it has brought people closer during difficult times and circumstances.

"When people come together to help you, it really means so much and it helps you get through these hard times," she said. "He was my best friend, and he is still my best friend."

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero has been reporting for KSL-TV for nearly two decades. He has covered a variety of stories over the years from a variety of places, but he particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.

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