More than 200 people, some from as far away as Vancouver, met at the Merritt Civic Centre yesterday to remember the lives of three children found murdered.
Educators, relatives and friends of the family described Kaitlynne, 10, Max, 8, and Cordon, 5, as “shiny,” “happy” children.
Their father, Allan Schoenborn, the man charged with their murders, is still in hospital recuperating. He spent 10 days in the bush around Merritt after the bodies were discovered on April 6.
Schoenborn was found starving and suffering from frostbite by a man walking his dog. The man then alerted a local hunter, Kim Robinson, who guarded Schoenborn until RCMP officers arrived.
Their mother, Darcie Clarke, reportedly moved to Merritt from Vancouver with her three children to get away from her estranged husband. They were immediately embraced by the local community.
Rev. Juanita Austin, of Trinity United Church, hosted yesterday’s emotional memorial service attended by family friends, neighbours, RCMP officers, ambulance attendants, teachers and strangers.
Rev. Canon Dan Krausert shared the eulogy written by Clarke’s brother, the uncle of the three children, given last weekend at a private family ceremony. His words offered the audience something most had been missing since word of the three murders spread through the small city of 7,000. It gave them a personal insight as to what was lost that day.
Their uncle’s words allowed the crowd to picture Kaitlynne as her mother put her to bed every night with three simple, yet essential, words — “Tuck, tuck, tuck.”
They learned that Max had a passion for soccer and the book The Magic Treehouse.
Finally, they learned that Cordon loved rescue heroes of any kind, and he found passion in small things. When he wasn’t reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, he was happily hanging from a tree.
Val O’Flaherty, principal of Diamond Vale Elementary School where the children studied, said Cordon’s smile was “always there” and he had a love of computers.
“It is important to remember that these three special children are defined not by death but who they were in life,” O’Flaherty said.
Max’s former teacher, Jana Heffernan, said he was everyone’s friend.
Kaitlynne was described by her teacher, Zanie Morrisey, in one word — shiny. Her bright smile and inquisitive nature won everyone over immediately.
Schoenborn is scheduled to return to court on May 2. Black Press