MMA fighter Marcus Kowal's son killed by suspected drunk driver

Liam Kowal pictured with his family.

Story highlights

  • Liam Kowal and his aunt were hit by a driver police say was drunk
  • Liam's organs are donated "so that his little heart can make another child live"

(CNN)A midafternoon stroll around the neighborhood took a tragic turn for a baby boy and his aunt over the weekend.

Fifteen-month-old Liam Kowal was being pushed in his stroller by his 15-year-old aunt on Saturday in Hawthorne, California, when they were hit by a car driven by a 72-year-old woman police say was drunk. Liam, the son of MMA fighter Marcus Kowal, died Sunday.
    His aunt suffered leg injuries and was hospitalized in stable condition.
    Police released this image of the scene of the incident.
    The car that struck the two left the scene, but a witness followed and was able to block the car until police arrived.
    Hawthorne Police said the driver was charged with felony hit and run and felony drunk driving.
    The injuries Liam suffered were too much for his little body to recover from, and on Sunday, he was declared brain dead, his father said.
    "He tried to fight so hard. He even died at one point but they brought him back," Kowal posted on Facebook. "He's a little fighter. His heart is still beating but his brain is no longer working."
    "Our hearts are broken and there's a void in my soul but we will get through this."
    Kowal is a mixed martial arts fighter in Southern California and made his MMA debut in 2009. He owns a training facility, Systems Training Center, where he is an instructor. Liam was known to frequent the gym with his father.

    Liam's first day of sparring was a success. 4 takedowns and 3 submissions. #BJJ and #wrestling on point. #MMA

    A photo posted by Marcus Kowal (@mackowal) on

    Saving others

    Kowal and Mishel Eder, Liam's mother, made the heartbreaking decision to pull their son off life support on Sunday and donate his organs.
    "This isn't easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live and another set of parents not have to go through what we have to," Kowal posted on Facebook.
    The family set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for a memorial fund in Liam's name. As of Tuesday evening, the account had reached its goal of $100,000 and was still growing.

    Teaching him how to fake laugh at my jokes. #jokes #laugh #baby #momlife

    A video posted by Mishel (@misheleder) on

    "Our family will never be the same. But Liam will live on. When you're feeling sad please think of his smile," Eder said on the GoFundMe account.