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Toddler killed in Indy house fire becomes organ donor, mother remembers her 'rambunctious' little girl

Leilani and Raymond.png
Posted at 12:25 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 15:53:46-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A toddler killed who died after a house fire on Indy's east side is saving other lives with her passing.

JaWana Rembert is celebrating the life of her 1-year-old daughter, Leilani, and boyfriend, Raymond Diggs Jr., after they died following a house fire on Indianapolis' east side Jan. 9.

Firefighters responded to the home on Elwin Drive just before 10:30 p.m. for a report of a working fire. Once inside, firefighters found Diggs and Leilani near a couch that had caught fire. the other children were found in a back room of the home.

All five were removed from the home in cardiac arrest. Crews on the scene administered CPR and were able to regain a pulse for all five victims before they were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Briggs, 31, and 15 mo. old Leilani later died at the hospital.

JaiWana Rembert tells WRTV that her daughter Leilani's organs were donated Thursday morning. She hopes they will help another mother be able to bring their child home.

As of Thursday morning, Rembert tells WRTV that her two older boys, 12 and 14, are “progressing” and that her 3-year-old daughter “isn’t out of the woods yet”, but has made small steps in the right direction. All three remain in critical condition.

Rembert remembers her boyfriend as a caring father and loving man.

Briggs was a native of Mobile, Alabama, according to Rembert.

"He came up here in search of a better life, which he was achieving," Rembert said.

"Our daughter Leilani was a happy, rambunctious baby. She danced and she loved Cocomelon, which her and her sister lovingly called "JJ".
Indianapolis Fire Department officials say Briggs was Leilani's father and also the father of the 3-year-old.

"Raymond was a great man and even greater father," Rembert said.

The fire is believed to have started with a couch inside the apartment. The exact cause remains under investigation.

Rembert's co-workers are also raising money to help her pay for the medical care for her children and funeral expenses.