Family and friends gathered in North Carolina Saturday to say goodbye to a pregnant Frederick woman and her two preschool-aged daughters who were killed earlier month.
Shanann Watts, 34, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were found in a shallow grave and an oil well days after they were reported missing. Police arrested Shanann Watts’ husband, Christopher Watts. He faces nine felony counts, including five counts of first-degree murder and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy.
“We’re heart broken to hear about such a tragedy” said Barbara Lattanze, a member of the church as she walked into Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Fr. John Forbes read messages from Shanann Watts’ parents and brother.
Frankie Rzucek described his older sister as ambitious, outgoing woman who had always wanted to be a mother even though her battle with Lupus made pregnancy more challenging.
“Closets were full before she was even pregnant,” Frankie Rzucek wrote in the letter Forbes read aloud. “She couldn’t wait.”
Frank Rzucek, Shanann Watts’ father, promised to look after his granddaughter’s truck and asked Forbes to tell the congregation and his daughter that he had “so much to say, but I will make it short: daddy loves you. You will always be daddy’s little girl.”
Forbes told the congregation that Shanann Watts’ mother described her as a fireball and a woman who loved her family and friends.
“She wanted to make a difference,” Forbes said.
And her family hopes to make a difference in her memory.
“They’d like to see a law passed to recognize the lives of unborn children like their grandson Nico,” Forbes said. “They’ve set up funds to gather resources to help the Lupus foundation … They hope this tragedy will bring people closer to God.”
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for memorial donations made in Shanann Watts’ memory to the Lupus Foundation of America in Washington D.C.; the Frederick Police Department’s missing persons division; or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Online condolences can be made at bolesfuneralhome.com.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.