Families Remember Lost Loved Ones

Janelle Bludau


Updated: 12/03/2013 10:14 pm

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Names, faces, and candles all sit side-by-side with one thing in common, each represents a life that was taken by another's hand.


"I lost my cousin Jeffrey, he was stabbed 37 times with a screw driver and left in a ditch to die,” Trish Nyegaard said.


After Jeffrey's death, his mother started "The Tree of Angels" to remember victims of violent crimes.


Jeffrey's son, Ty, was only a year old when he was killed. Now fifteen, Ty has attended every ceremony to make sure he never forgets his father.


"We get to see pictures of our loved ones. We get to remember them, share memories and stuff, we get to do stuff like that,” Ty Woods said.


Olivia Johnson lost her daughter more than 22 years ago, and said every time she comes to The Tree of Angels, it hurts all over again.


“It’s a healing, but still it brings back memories a lot. It's a hurting thing. That was my baby,” Johnson said.


But even though it hurts, it helps the families heal.


"Most family members that lose someone, I think the worst thing is that they are forgotten or that they might be forgotten. So it’s really important, especially to a mother who lost their child, to keep them alive in their memories,” Nyegaard said.


Also in attendance to show their support were dozens of law enforcement officers who assited these families throughout their investigations.

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