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Sandy Hook Victims Remembered: 'They Didn't Deserve Any of This'

One day after police released the names of the victims of Friday's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School details are emerging about the victims, their families and their lives.


So many of the victims of Friday's shooting were just beginning their lives, but they had already made their beauty known to so many. Here are just a few of those stories. 

Charlotte Bacon, 6

JoAnn Bacon had bought her daughter a new pink dress and boots for the holidays, according to Newsday.

But Charlotte, an outgoing girl with long and curly red hair, couldn't wait, and JoAnn let her daughter wear the dress and boots and did her hair special for the end of the school week.

Her older brother, Guy, was also in the school, but survived the shootings.

Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, who had lived in Newtown for four or five years, and their extended family felt numb after the shooting, her uncle on her mother's side, John Hagen, of Nisawa, Minnesota, said.

"She was going to go some places in this world," Hagen said. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."

Daniel Barden, 7 

Daniel's family wrote in a statement, according to The Register-Citizen: "Everyone who has ever met Daniel remembers and loves him. Words really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light. Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy. Daniel was fearless in his pursuit of happiness and life. He earned his ripped jeans and missing two front teeth. Despite that, he was, as his mother said, 'Just So Good.' He embodied everything that is wholesome and innocent in the world. Our hearts break over losing him and for the many other families suffering loss."

Rachel Davino, 29

Rachel Davino, a teacher's aide at Sandy Hook, loved to cook,  her grandmother, Nicoletta Davino, of Waterbury, Conn, told USA Today, and the two would share Italian recipes.

Rachel Davino, who lived in New Britain, would also make tomato sauce when she visited each year, the elder Davino said.

Olivia Engel, 6

Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family according to WTNH, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to say when he thinks of her. 

"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader." 

On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house. 

Josephine Gay, 7

Josephine Gay turned seven three days before the shooting massacre at the Sandy Hook School, according to USA Today.

In one particular photo, Gay is grinning while she balances what appears to be traffic cone on her head and glasses on the tip of her nose.

"This photo shows your sweet fun personality," a guest on Legacy.com wrote on Gay's page. "You will be missed and thought of always."

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Dawn, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010, according to WTNH, that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too.

In October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend. 

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dylan was a playful boy whose family moved to the area after living in England, a neighbor said, according to Newsday.

"The Hockleys have swingsets in their front yard and are pleasant neighbors," said Nick Germak, who also lives in the neighborhood.

"Just normal, happy kids," said Nicole Germak, Nick's 12-year-old daughter, who attended Sandy Hook when she was in elementary school.

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine’s house Saturday tending to her stricken family, according to Newsday. He said the family did not want to comment.

Velsmid said that after learned of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance, but there were no injuries to treat.

Velsmid’s daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Catherine’s parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the supportive community.

“We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy,” Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said, according to Newsday.

“We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy.”

Chase Kowalski, 7

Chase was always outside, playing in the backyard, riding his bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing— and winning—his first mini-triathlon, according to Newsday.

"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said. Grimes' own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. 

Nancy Lanza, 52, gunman's mother

She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son's first victim.

Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.

Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-respected, Briggs said.

Jesse Lewis, 6

Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning, according to WTNH.

Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.

"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.

Anne Marie Murphy, 52, teacher

Murphy was artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking, according to USA Today.

Her parents, Hugh and Alice McGowan, told The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., that she was "smart and dedicated" woman.

"She was a happy soul," McGowan told Newsday.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene the holiday's last year on her first trip to Puerto Rico, her grandmother Elba Marquez told Newsday.

Marquez said the Ana's nine year-old brother was also at the school, but escaped safely.

The family plans on establishing a music scholarship in memory of Ana, who loved to sing.

James Mattioli, 6

"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," William Vineall, mayor of upstate New York town Sherrill, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch, according to USA Today. Sherrill is where James' mother Cindi grew up.

Ray Horvath, who runs a before- and after-school program that James attended that he was a "sweetheart of a kid."

Grace McDonnell, 7

Grace was "a real cute little blonde girl with blue eyes", Todd Werden, a neighbor of the McDonnells, told the Washington Post.

Emilie Parker, 6

She was blonde and cheerful, a 6-year-old girl who loved to draw and hated new foods. Her father, Robbie Parker, said his daughter was always smiling. Through tears he said, "I'm so blessed to be her Dad."

Her grandfather lives in Ogden, Utah according to KSL.com, where he raised Robbie. "Adults make the choices they do, but these innocent children, they didn't deserve any of this."

Jack Armistead Pinto, 6

Jack was an avid participant in a wide variety of activities including flag football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and snow skiing. Jack was "an incredibly loving and vivacious young boy, appreciated by all who knew him for his lively and giving spirit and steely determination," according to an obituary on the Newtown Bee.  

"In life and in death, Jack will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his six short years."

Noah Pozner, 6

The parents of six-year-old Noah moved from New York to Connecticut he and his sisters could attend live in a safe community, said the victim's uncle, Arthur Pozner, according to Newsday.

The boy's twin sister and 8-year-old sister were also students at the school, but they had not been hurt, Pozner said.

He had not been able to reach the Connecticut family to see how they were coping with the tragedy.

Caroline Previdi, 6

"You were a sweet little girl and you will be missed," Paige Tremblay wrote about six-year-old Caroline Previdi on Twitter Saturday, according to the Register-Citizen.

Tremblay's five-year-old niece was a playmate of Previdi's, according to her feed. "It hurts even more to see a familiar name on that list," she wrote in a later tweet.

Jessica Adrienne Rekos, 6

Jessica loved horseback riding, learning about orcas, writing, and playing with her little brothers, according to an obituary in the Newtown Bee.

Avielle Richman, 6

Her blog, which is called Avielle's Adventures, states that Avielle loved to read, her favorite books were the Harry Potter books and her favorite color was red, according to USA Today.

Lauren Rousseau, 30, teacher

She wanted to a teacher "from before she even went to kindergarten" Lauren Rousseau's family said in a brief statement released Saturday. Her family told the Hartford Courant that Rousseau had worked as a subsitute teacher for years after graduating from the University of Connecticut. She had just recently gotten a permanent substituting job at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Rousseau's mother issued a statement last night on her daughter's death that was heart-wrenching in its brevity. "We will miss her terribly ... "

Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist

Mary Sherlach enjoyed her work at Sandy Hook, especially when she could get through to a struggling student.  

"She wanted to help kids get over their problems and go on to be successful," Eric Schwartz said.

Mary Sherlach was an avid Miami Dolphins fan, and she could easily get riled up during a game, especially when her team wasn't performing well, her son-in-law recalled. He took good-natured ribbing from her for being a Buffalo Bills fan. 

"She was very sharp and she had a very nice sense of humor," Schwartz said. "She was opinionated, but in a good way."

Victoria Soto, 27, teacher

Victoria "Vicki" Soto loved teaching at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Before becoming a first-grade teacher she interned at the school for two years.

"This is my third year as a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook School! I absolutely love teaching first grade!" begins her profile on the school's website.

Soto's lifelong dream was to be a teacher. The Stratford native's graduating class is establishing a memorial fund in their former classmate's name.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Benjamin was six and one of two sons of David and Francine Wheeler, according to USA Today. His father is a writer and performer with the Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theater and moved his family to Newtown in April 2011.

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

People from across the country are expressing their condolences on a featured memorial page at Legacy.com for Wyatt, according to the Register-Citizen.

“Little child, you gained angel wings today,” an anonymous posted wrote on the page Saturday.

nina December 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Sometimes I catch a glimpse, In softened waves of blue My child, my heart …when I see a smile I can’t help but think of you Sometimes these waves fill oceans. And feelings string on every shore A collections of each memory And every way I wish for more Sometimes I watch for answers Because each day I call to you I ask for faith and courage And strength …to help me through Sometimes I ask for bravery Like dolphins in the deep Because time moves oh so slowly And some times the road is steep Sometimes I want to scream This was not what I had planned Why you ever suffered A mom can’t understand Sometimes I hear your laughter And remember you at play But My Child I always miss you Not sometimes, but everyday
nina December 17, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Totally agree with u my friend:(
Marla moss December 17, 2012 at 06:00 PM
My heart truly aches for the loss of all these young souls and the educators that tried to protect. Now is not the time to point fingers now is the time to hold on to your loved ones and appreciate the life our Lord gave them. I pray for the families. I pray for their strength mostly. As a mother myself I couldn't imagine the amount of super human strength it would take to be able to indor this loss. I'm praying my children are praying and our hearts are aching.
Nancy Zorena December 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I have read "I am Adam Lanza's Mom on Huff Post... But this motehr and her husband had enough resources to have found excellent private programs to help him. Home schooling ( who monitored that?) and isolating him more didn't help. Teaching a sick child how to use weapons and irresponsibly have them in their home was outrageous!
Nancy Zorena December 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Let's all face it - GUNS ARE FOR KILLING!. When the Bill of Rights #2 was written it took at least a minute to load a gun to shoot it once. Now really, what regular citizen needs an automatic rifle? People are fed up and the laws are going to change. Who collects and keeps automatic weapons in their house with a mentally ill child? Home schooling? Who supervises this? Especially when a child has such serious issues? Did his high school or college have warning signs? We have had enough killing. Mental health issues will need more money and attention and not shoved under the rug!
Rob Gianazza December 18, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Part 1 of 2 I thought it would be meaningful to most of you if I shared this poem. 'Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air. They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there. They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say. They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day. "Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. "This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house." When what to their wondering eyes did appear, but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near. He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. Then He opened his arms and He called them by name. And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring, those children all flew into the arms of their King. And as the lingered in the warmth of his embrace, one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face. And, as if He could read all the questions she had
Rob Gianazza December 18, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Part 2 of 2 He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad." Then he looked down on earth, the world far below He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand. "Let My Power and Presence re-enter this land!" "May this country be delivered from the hands of fools." "I'm taking back My nation. I'm taking back my schools!" Then He and the children stood up without a sound. "Come now my children, let me show around." excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran. All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can. And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, "In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT!" -- Kelley D. Phillips FACS teacher Albemarle High School
Walt Baker December 18, 2012 at 01:54 AM
As part of our Christmas Display, the following Memorial is played once per cycle in memory of the Students and Faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary School whose lives were taken. God Bless them and their families. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijg_8pE9bCo
barb December 18, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I AGREE WITH ED ALL THE Way, she knew her son was a sicko. now all these lil babies are gone for whatttttttttttttt. they never desearve that .bastard gonna rot in hellll, im so hurt to hear and see thisss , i cant even think, all i can say bless those lil kids and now there with god in heaven. lilangels we love you all.
Ami December 18, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I too wish that time could reverse & there could be a do over....the father could have paid more attention to his child instead of just making loads of money for a big empty house & a mom who didn't isolate him from the attention of possible helpers. Maybe his brother could have offered a hand during the two years they didn't keep in touch. People, I ask that you reach out to the lonely. It hurts to think of all the beauty that was taken from our world. We are all the worse because the killer has destroyed something in all of us.
SuperDave December 18, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Agreed. Armed to the teeth with weapns designed for maximum casualties, and ammunition designed to inflict even greater damage. And, with an alimony of what equates to the common man of $300K per year. But she would not get her son help. Nor would the wealthy father, who has top notch health benefits through GE. This woman bought assault rifles and kept them in a home with a sick individual. And now 26 families pay for that complete irresponsibility. Sickening.
Patrick Howard December 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Around world, massacres have spurred gun control By BEN McCONVILLE and JILL LAWLESS If there's anywhere that understands the pain of Newtown, it's Dunblane, the town whose grief became a catalyst for changes to Britain's gun laws. In March 1996, a 43-year-old man named Thomas Hamilton walked into a primary school in this central Scotland town of 8,000 people and shot to death 16 kindergarten-age children and their teacher with four legally held handguns. In the weeks that followed, people in the town formed the Snowdrop campaign - named for the first flower of spring - to press for a ban on handguns. Within weeks, it had collected 750,000 signatures. By the next year, the ban had become law. It is a familiar pattern around the world - from Britain to Australia, grief at mass shootings has been followed by swift political action to tighten gun laws. Read More... http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/18/3147062/around-world-massacres-have-spurred.html?story_link=email_msg
John M. Joy December 18, 2012 at 10:20 PM
...and thus we have: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html
COSMO P December 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Totally not true and read this. You have to arm people against this sort of things. http://www.examiner.com/article/arming-teachers-worked-for-israel-and-thailand?cid=rss
COSMO P December 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM
@Patrick H Funny the authors are from Florida According to the National Institute of Justice's report “Guns in America: ... Florida's carry law in 1987 was followed by a homicide rate drop of 39% ...
Diana December 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM
How do you know homeschooling didn't help? Have you ever been a homeschool mom? Homeschooling is often the BEST thing when children don't fit in at school. And it's often the BEST thing even when they do! (After 16 years of homeschooling, my children are excelling in top universities and doing quite well, thank you.) Lanza attended regular public school, private school, and homeschool. Why are you singling out homeschooling? So many times when something goes wrong with a child or family, the media are quick to point out homeschooling--when the VAST majority of the time such issues occur from students who were in PUBLIC school. Yet articles never say, "So and so, who had been public schooled..." You can imagine how grating this is to those of us who homeschool.
COSMO P December 18, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Can someone at least research the nonsense that is being posted. Gun control increases homicides. Plain and simple. All the signs in the world and all the banning of guns means nothing. Because the bad guys always win when people are disarmed. Time after time these nut jobs pick places where guns are banned. Use you head man no one can ignore this fact. Once the cops showed up the guy killed himself. If a couple of those teachers had guns the number of casualties would be much lower. This has been proven time after time. Do the research ans stop posting nonsense.
John M. Joy December 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM
There were no reports of automatic weapons at the Lanza residence, or involved in this crime. If you have evidence otherwise, please provide it.
ttencza December 19, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Please do not get the wrong idea, I am not sticking up for anyone here, but you people are all quite sure that Adam had a diagnosed Mental Illness, yet there doesnt seem to be any proof of that. You may be judging the parents without merit.
John M. Joy December 19, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Indeed. This is still an active police investigation... and, frankly, there are a lot of inconsistencies in the various versions of what exactly happened. Hopefully as time goes on, these will be ironed out.
nina December 21, 2012 at 04:36 AM
you are soo right Nancy.

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