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Ridgeway toddler killed in Mexico memorialized with a bike nonprofit

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When 2-year-old Axel Charrette, killed in Mexico in February, was memorialized at a service in Ridgway, his cherished little Strider bike sat on the dais in front of mourners.

Now, that pedal-less bike has turned into the vehicle to honor Charrette.

Axel’s family has launched the Axel Project, a nonprofit designed to introduce other toddlers and youngsters aged 18 months to 5 years to cycling and to promote the idea that cycling is a healthy and bonding family activity.

The project will be donating Strider bikes and selling bikes for a nominal fee of $20 to individuals and organizations that can get them to needy children.

“We will get thousands of kids on bikes. That’s exciting,” said family friend Brian Scranton, who is serving as an adviser for the project that was founded by Axel’s parents, Jen and Randy Charrette.

The Charrettes had vowed to find a way to honor their son shortly after he was killed in Sayulita, Mexico, where the family had been spending the winter months.

Axel was allegedly killed by a man who came to the Charrette family’s rental home in the beach town to visit the family’s babysitter on Feb. 28.

Eleodoro Carlos Rodriguez Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of rape and murder in the death that occurred after Axel was tossed into a swimming pool. His older brother, Kalden, 7, was inside the home at the time and was not hurt.

The babysitter, Nancy Saralee Solorio Perez, was arrested on suspicion of homicide because she allegedly did nothing to stop the killing.

Both suspects are incarcerated in the Mexican state of Nayarit.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has intervened on behalf of the family by writing to the American ambassador in Mexico City and requesting updates on the status of the case.

The Charrettes recently received word from authorities in Mexico that DNA tests linking Rodriguez Sanchez to the crime have been completed.

While the case winds its way through the Mexican court system, the Charrettes have been living in Ridgway, which was their home before they travelled to Mexico. Friends in Ridgway have named a short cycling trail south of town for Axel and and placed a memorial bench there.

The Axel Project was started with help from Ryan McFarland, the founder of Strider Bikes. It has already drawn about $9,000 in donations since it was unveiled less than two weeks ago.

The Axel Project will be featured in a booth at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge this summer. Last summer, Axel participated in the kids’ Strider class race at the Pro Cycling event.

Nancy Lofholm

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