too young to die:chester county native was beautiful with whole life ahead of her

 Have you ever read something from a complete stranger in a group you belong to and just started to cry because it just gets you right through the heart?  As in immediately at the time of reading? Well I have, and I am writing about it because my heart is so sad for this lady I don’t know, who just lost her daughter to some tragedy across the county. And the mom is a recent breast cancer survivor. So it hits me in more than one way.

In my few years living in Chester County, I have discovered this is a place with a huge heart and in Chester County we take care of our own. So at the end of this I am going to put in a couple of things on how we can help this family. Not through any non-profit, we will help because we care, deal?

So I read this post this morning from Jennifer Lynch that said:

It has been 4 days, now, since our youngest daughter was identified as the Eugene Oregon Jane Doe. Every day is different, but equally horrifying. I finally got a call, from the detective working her case. He is in the violent crime division. There has been some “creative storytelling” from the parties we believe to be involved in the circumstances surrounding the death of a beautiful, vulnerable 24 year old girl, but we are no closer to real answers, as of yet.

Sometimes, I border on ok, sometimes I am out of my mind. Other times, I am just standing in the shower, when I suddenly realize that I am putting out more water than the shower head, and I have no idea how long I’ve been in there. Time has no meaning. I have a constant flow of still frames, in my mind. How could I have stopped this? What could I have done or said differently, to convince her to come home?

I don’t know.

She was stubborn, and willful, and there were times that we went at it like two Billy goats on a log. God, what I wouldn’t do, to be able to have another argument, another hug just one more moment, frozen in time.

Hug your children, even if they think they are too old, for hugs. You never know if it could be the last time.

 

So I went scrolling through the group looking for more information and I found this article:

THE REGISTER GUARD EUGENE POLICE

“She wasn’t a Jane Doe. She had family and friends who loved her and were looking for her.”

Body found Feb. 20 near Eugene bike path identified as Rachel Lee Lynch

She was like a sparkle — burning bright, hot and fast.

And in an instant, she was gone.

That’s how the family of Rachel Lee Lynch described the vivacious 24-year-old who was found dead near the bike path along the west bank of the Willamette River in Eugene on Feb. 20.

It would be nearly a week before her identity would be known — police initially identified her as Jane Doe and learned of her identity only after circulating surveillance images from the Safeway store on Coburg Road, where she had shopped on Feb. 16……Most of her family, including stepmother Jennifer Lynch, lives in Chester County, Pa. They said they had no idea Rachel Lynch was even in Oregon. But they did know, they say, that she was in trouble and had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

“She was a cheerleader, an honor student,” Jennifer Lynch said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “She made one bad decision, she trusted the wrong person and it took her across the country. It took her life.”….“It’s just been incredibly hard,” Jennifer Lynch said on behalf of the family. “She was a good kid. But she’s like any young girl. They think they are in love, and they just can’t see the danger that they’re in. Guys like that, they work these girls. And like any woman, you see what he can be and not what he is. He played her like a violin.”

According to Jennifer Lynch, Rachel Lynch graduated from high school in 2009, and attended Temple University in Philadelphia for two years before she met a slightly older and charming boyfriend.

Almost immediately, the two were inseparable, Jennifer Lynch said. Her stepdaughter quit school and began following her new boyfriend’s wishes, she said.

“He was isolating her and it just kept getting tighter,” Jennifer Lynch said. “He was controlling her. And we saw her less and less and less.”

….Rachel Lynch loved music, movies and art. Her laugh was contagious, and her family is “gutted” by their loss, her stepmother said.

“She wasn’t a Jane Doe,” Jennifer Lynch said tearfully. “She had a family and friends who loved her and were looking for her. Right now, we just want to get her home.”

I. Can’t.Even.  Then I read this:

Ladies..it is with a very heavy heart that I once again am reaching out for one of our own today. As many of you read last night about the loss of Jennifer’s daughter Rachel.
Rachel’s body was found on a bike trail in Eugene Oregon on Saturday. She was only 24 yrs old.
Jennifer is currently waiting on details from the coroner as I spoke with her thismorning. At this point she is more than appreciative of all the offers of help but their priority is to get their daughter HOME.
With Jennifer’s recent battle with Breast Cancer taking a major financial toll on them they desperately need the power of our group right now.
To lose a child at any age is a parents worst pain. We are praying for you Jen

Ladies our PayPal is open for donations which I will get directly to Jen for her to use for arrangements ASAP!

PLEASE PLEASE…use friends and family when donating AND put JENNIFER in the notes as we also have another fundraiser going

 

2help.momadvice@gmail.com

 

*ANYONE NOT HAVING PAYPAL CAN PM ME FOR MY ADDRESS

4000 women can make a difference together! Thank you Ladies.😢

 

Tomorrow, a dear friend’s daughter who is a varsity cheerleader at another Chester County high school has a birthday. And seeing Jennifer’s Rachel’s photo really hit that home for me. And I am also a step-parent and a breast cancer survivor, so on so many levels I get this. And most importantly as a human being I get this.

The newspaper article which I thought had great heart thanks to the reporter makes me think back to when I was the age of Rachel Lynch.  When you are that young, remember how easy it was to get stars in your eyes over the wrong person? If we are honest we all had those experiences, or a lot of us did.

As an adult we read about domestic violence all of the time. We all say “it could never happen to us” but it happens to many of us, male and female.  Sometimes it is brutal and physical, sometimes it is sneaky and subversive, almost subtle as it is all about control and the bruises from emotional and mental warfare you can’t see. I think those situations are even worse than physical abuse.

When you are in an abusive relationship it’s not necessarily so easy to get out. Sometimes you do not recognize (or want to recognize) how toxic a relationship is even if friends and family express concern. That sounds almost silly to people, but if you have ever witnessed anyone go through this you know that it is true.

I don’t know Jennifer, and I never knew Rachel.  But I have known women like Rachel and by the grace of God they are still alive.

Here is the information again regarding sending donations via MomAdvice founder Kelly Lammey. Donations are NOT tax deductible. They will go towards the family’s expenses and to help out with bills post breast cancer. I am still paying off breast cancer treatment bills almost five years later, so I get how this is.

Here is the information:

Use PayPal and put “JENNIFER” in the notes as the group is involved in  another fundraiser

 

2help.momadvice@gmail.com is the email address. 

 

If you do NOT use PayPal e-mail KINGMOM123@AOL.com 

 

DO NOT GET THE E-MAIL ADDRESSES MIXED UP! AND ALL CHECKS WILL BE MADE PAYABLE TO JENNIFER LYNCH .

 

If you can contribute goods or services towards the family holding a memorial service for their daughter or know someone willing to donate a hall  somewhere in the Downingtown or Kennett Square area that would also be appreciated. AND AGAIN FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN A PAYPAL DONATION E-MAIL KINGMOM123@aol.COM

Remember Rachel and her family in your prayers. And hug your kids. This can happen to anyone.  A young girl smiling at us now forever a moment in time in her Downingtown East cheerleading uniform. It isn’t supposed to be like this. She is supposed to grow old, fall in love, raise her own family.

Thank you for reading this.

too young

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tragedy

long roadToday’s post is perhaps in part a rambling stream of consciousness.  Truthfully, I am not sure where this post will go as I start to write. This post began writing itself in my head a few hours ago.

A tragedy in Wayne has made me think of someone I had not thought of in a few years.

What tragedy am I speaking of? The man in Wayne who shot his wife on Sunday afternoon with one of their children in the house.  Then the man took his own life.

Coward.

Main Line Media News: Update: Husband, wife identified in Wayne murder-suicide

Published: Monday, January 13, 2014

By Pete Bannan,
Pbannan@Mainlinemedianews.com

Radnor police are working with family members to help care for the children after an apparent murder suicide that took place on 300 block of South Wayne Avenue in Radnor shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.

Radnor police were called to the home for the report of shots fired. Two people, Tim Rooney, 49, and Linda Rooney, 48, were found dead from gunshot wounds in a pool house at the rear of the property, according to police.

“It appears to be a domestic situation,” said Radnor Police Supt. William Colarulo.

An 8-year-old was in the main house at the time of the shooting. The couple had two other children, a 15-year-old who is in a boarding school out of state and a 17-year-old daughter.

Their names were Tim and Linda Rooney.  I did not know them.  From what I am reading she was some kind of high level executive with a pharmaceutical company.  

Linda was also a mother of three children, two teenagers, and one child who is considerably younger.  Now these poor kids are orphans and tainted by a tragedy not of their making which is so unfair.

From what Radnor Patch was reporting, Linda Rooney may have not only feared her husband, but apparently the marriage may have been in trouble.

Wayne Murder Victim May Have Feared Husband, Police Say

Posted by   Sam Strike  (Editor) , January 13, 2014 at 06:51 PM

rooneyAs the Radnor Township community grapples with a shocking murder-suicide that took place in a Wayne home on Sunday, Radnor Patch has received comments ranging from concern for the victim’s children to the shock of knowing that a firearm was within blocks of their own children and many at Radnor Middle School.

While Radnor Police have not yet revealed a motive in the killing, they have said that they believe that Timothy Rooney, 49, shot to death his 48-year-old wife, Linda, in the pool house of their home and then shot himself….based on documents that police found it appears the marriage “was in trouble” and that Linda “may have been fearful” of her husband.

I noticed that some people were hard on Radnor Patch Editor Sam Strike for in essence, doing her job and reporting this.  This shows up in comments underneath the story when the news broke, but victims had not yet been identified. It is horrible news, but she did not sensationalize it. She stated what the Radnor Police had reported to the media in general. I know Sam, so this bothers me.  She is not deserving of being castigated for doing her job.  It was also all over the media like lightening.

Murder-Suicide in Pa. Suburbs

By  Wire Reports and  NBC10.com Staff                                  
|  Monday, Jan 13, 2014  |  Updated 3:42 PM EST

tragedyA man shot and killed his wife then shot himself Sunday afternoon, according to Radnor Police.

The incident happened in the guest house of a property at 319 S. Wayne Ave. in Wayne. The victims are identified as 49-year-old Timothy Rooney and his 48-year-old wife Linda Rooney. One of the couple’s three children, an 8-year-old boy, was in a bedroom of the main home.

Police say there were signs of struggle and that a note was left at the scene….The couple’s 17 year-old daughter came home to be with her younger brother. Another sibling is away at boarding school. Police are seeking to make contact with her.

The family, who is originally from Texas, moved to Radnor about a year ago, according to authorities.

This is all so senseless and tragic.  It will undoubtedly get weighed down by another debate on gun control.  I hope not.  It is a weighty issue, but three children just became orphans. And like many other weighty issues in this country it is polarized by politics back and forth on both sides of the issue.

What is rattling around in my brain is a similar crime the spring of 2000.  A woman I knew (and went to Shipley with) was shot by her ex-husband.  And then he turned the gun on himself.

His name was Mark Biddle.  Hers was Melinda Clothier Biddle.  She was a neighbor of mine.  I came home one day for lunch to find my neighborhood in lockdown, with police and media all over the place; helicopters swarming. The press had a field day because of the old Philadelphia names involved…likened it to High Society run amok.

A Violent End For Two With Notable Names Mark Hampton Biddle Fatally Shot His Ex-wife, Melinda Clothier Biddle, At Her Main Line Home. Then He Killed Himself.

By Patrick Kerkstra, Erin Carroll and Chani Katzen, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF

Posted: June 01, 2000

A divorced couple from the Main Line, members of two of the most prominent families in Philadelphia’s long history, died yesterday in an apparent murder-suicide at the woman’s home in Haverford.

Mark Hampton Biddle, 49, a lawyer whose ancestors include leading financiers and statesmen from the time of the American Revolution, shot his ex-wife, Melinda Clothier Biddle, shortly after 10:30 a.m. at their former family home in the 400 block of West Montgomery Avenue, police said. He then shot himself in the head.

Melinda Biddle, 41, a therapist, was a great-great-granddaughter of Isaac Clothier, one of the founders of Strawbridge & Clothier. The couple had three children.

The pair finalized their divorce in February, according to court records. Mark Biddle recently remarried and moved to St. Davids after selling a large property on Lancaster Avenue where he had lived for about a year.

Mark Biddle was an angry man that Melinda finally divorced.  And it took a long time for her to get to her divorce.  It was very difficult for her to do this. But before she died, she was finally happy. She was blooming. She loved her children, her garden, a career, her friends and neighbors. I remembered seeing her out with some of her female friends from the neighborhood and elsewhere and I was so happy to see how she how happy she was and excited about life again.

A Murder-suicide Leaves Family And Police At A Loss. Questions Abound In Shootings  

By Ralph Vigoda and Patrick Kerkstra, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

Posted: June 04, 2000

As he did many mornings, Mark Hampton Biddle started Wednesday with a prayer for his new wife, Veruschka, in the bedroom of their Chester County home. The couple, married 31/2 months, then prayed together – another morning ritual – before getting themselves and the children ready for the day…..What Mark Biddle did less than two hours later, police say, was confront his ex-wife, Melinda Clothier Biddle, in the back of the Haverford house they had once shared. He shot her twice, then – seconds later – shot himself in the head, his body crumpling in the driveway.

And then, one Wednesday morning, Mark Biddle parked his car literally across the street from my then driveway and accessed his ex-wife’s home via the R-5 Septa train tracks. He used the train tracks as a path.  He shot his former wife and then himself.  That darn car sat there for days.  I remember I finally called his old law practice and begged them to get someone, anyone to remove that car from our neighborhood.

What is wrong with this country?  Clearly, Mark Biddle was never someone who should have had access to guns anymore than this Tim Rooney. Yet he did.

My one comment on this debate which wages over guns in our country is why there has to be more control over exactly who is allowed to literally bear arms.  No one wants to interfere with an American’s inalienable rights, but part of this process should be a clean bill of mental health. And that should be something that should be periodically revisited as long as an individual owns guns. People kill.  Guns can’t just do it on their own as inanimate objects.

So as I first heard the news reports of this tragedy in Wayne, I was instantly transported back 14 years to the sounds of helicopters swarming like we were on the set of M.A.S.H or something.  I remember the chaos well because this is where I lived, and Melinda was my neighbor.  I have not thought of her in a few years.  Until this happened in Wayne.

I can only imagine how everyone in Wayne feels, and these were people that everyone was undoubtedly just getting to know because the family had only moved into the area within the past couple of years.

Human beings can be so cruel to each other and crimes like this will always be selfish in my mind on the part of the perpetrator.  Ok, so it is human to be ungodly upset but to take another life? And then your own so you don’t have to deal with the consequences of your actions? And to leave the children you brought into this world orphaned? It’s hateful, wrong, tragic, and selfish.

I often think about Melinda’s kids and wonder where their lives have led them.  I remember her son in particular as a little boy with reddish hair at the bus stop.  Melinda’s kids were lucky because her parents were able to step in and take care of her children.  And they are amazing and lovely people.

I guess life’s big lesson here is once again we are reminded of how life can change in a blink of an eye. I wish for a day when senseless violence like this ebbs away from our existences.

Appreciate those who love you and hold you dear.  I know I do.

murder comes to malvern borough

minerWe all learned yesterday that even in  small towns we  as a society are not immune to crime.  Yesterday we were told that on Monday night a young man of 21 was shot inside his grandparents home in the Borough of Malvern.

Yes, sleepy Malvern which doesn’t see much violent crime like this EVER, was all over the news.  As a matter of fact when the news interviewed a neighbor named Ben Boomer, he thought the last time Malvern had a murder was over 20 years ago. (I have no idea.)

The  media referred to this as a “Main Line Murder”, which in my humble opinion it is not.  Malvern Borough is in Chester County and cornfields and farms are close by.  The Main Line doesn’t have much in the way of farming they grow McMansions. (Sorry but it is true – just look at the future of Ardrossan.)

drew2The victim, a 2011 graduate of Great Valley High School was only 21 years old.  His name was Drew Ferguson.  He lived with his grandparents on a cute little street in Malvern Borough off (I believe) Old Lincoln Highway on Miner Street.  Someone told me the nickname for over there is “Miner Hill”.

Drew, we learned last evening on the news, was as per Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, murdered by a friend from high school, 24 year old Merritt Dudas.

Ok wow.  I don’t know any of the people involved or families involved, but so tragic as  all concerned are/were so young with their entire lives ahead of them.

These were someone’s children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors.

So senseless. So sad.

On a Malvern-centric Facebook page we heard one mom tell of teachers and former students at Great Valley High School meeting over at the school to grieve together and remember.

The media reports showed Drew’s Facebook page and yes, I went and looked.  I wanted to see what kind of kid this was.  I saw lots of photos of cars he was working on, the photo of him and what I guess was his dog, and then there was the photo that brought me, a stranger,  to tears:

drew f

His dad.

Ok my father died eight years ago last week and I so get the whole missing your father of it all. This Drew wrote this in January :

R.I.P dad 11/23/65 1/24/12 I will always love u no madder what and it still really hard to live my life with u gone but ur all ways in my heart love u dad see u when it’s my time

He was just a boy. And his “time” should have been decades down the road.

No matter what else, this Drew Ferguson was just a boy who obviously missed his dad and liked cars (and maybe drove too fast judging from photos of a wrecked red Honda?).  I am getting a lump in my throat thinking about it. And right there leaving a comment in sympathy in January is the young man accused of his murder. This is truly a senseless tragedy of Shakespearian proportions.

There are no words.  I totally feel for both families. This tragedy has and will continue to tear up a lot of people. This shouldn’t have happened and it happened in a town where things like this don’t happen.  And I am at an age where this kid Drew is the same age as some of my friends’ children.

Unimaginable.

The police and District Attorney’s office did an amazing job getting this all squared away so quickly.

Here is the coverage on this:

Daily Local: Acquaintance charged in fatal Malvern shooting

By   Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News

Posted:  11/20/13, 11:45 AM EST

MALVERN – The Chester County District Attorney’s office Tuesday charged an acquaintance in the death of a 21-year-old man who was found shot to death near his home in the borough Monday evening.

Authorities identified 24-year-old Merritt Dudas of Collegeville as the suspect who is charged with murder, robbery, theft and abuse of a corpse.

Drew Ferguson, a 2011 graduate of Great Valley High School living in the 200 block of Miner Street, was the victim, police said.

According to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, the investigation found the attack was not random and the two men had known each other for years.

Hogan said for a period of time Dudas lived in the home next to Ferguson and then with Ferguson at the residence on Miner Street when Dudas was without a place to live.

According to the criminal complaint, Dudas was arrested by police on Tuesday and confessed to the killing….“A tragic and senseless murder, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that in a very short period of time this was extraordinary police work,” Hogan said, indicating police did in 24 hours what should have taken about two weeks.

 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Cops: Friend shoots friend dead in normally quiet Malvern

Alex Wigglesworth, For Philly.com

Last updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 7:00 PM

NBC10 Philadelphia: Man Kills Childhood Friend, Stuffs His Body in Sleeping Bag: Police

6ABC  Arrest made in Malvern, Pa. homicide Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Malvern Patch:  Malvern Murder Not Random Killing, says Chesco DA/Police discovered the body of Drew Ferguson, who was found shot in his home.