A small memorial service was held Saturday for three young victims of an apparent homicide-suicide in rural Idaho that also claimed the lives of three other people, including the children’s mother and half-sister.
About 50 people gathered at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a few blocks away from where the children’s father, Michael King, lives.
Many wept at the half-hour service which honored the short lives of Genevieve Marie King, 11, Jordan Michael King, 10, and Chelsea Victoria King, 8.
Photos of the children were in small stacks on the pews, to be passed around and shared by mourners. Two dresses trimmed with lace - one in lavender taffeta and another in red velvet - hung from the pulpit, remembrances of the Thanksgiving holiday three years ago.
“My children are no longer in a world where they will be subject to pain, disappointment, betrayal or any of the hurtful things that the reality of this world lays on us,” King wrote.
“For those of us that are left behind, we are perplexed and in torment on a way to cope with the reality of this loss.”
King and the children’s mother, Denise McCoy, divorced in 1992.
McCoy had been living in Shoshone, Idaho, with her fiance, Dean Barney, 25, the three children she had with King and another daughter, 2-year-old Adrianna McCoy.
McCoy and her four children were each shot once in the head on Tuesday. Their bodies were discovered by Barney when he returned home from work early Wednesday.
Lincoln County Sheriff Stephen Southwick said it appears that farmer Walter Schoolcraft, 47, shot McCoy and her children and then killed himself with the same rifle.
Schoolcraft, a bachelor, was found dead, slumped in the cab of his pickup at his nearby home. The Schoolcraft and Barney families had been friends for years.
Authorities said they have yet to pin down a motive.
“It’s tearing little parts out of us bit by bit,” said Jenifer King, who married Michael King two months ago. “I’m grateful more than anything else that I’m at peace with the last thing I said to them - I told them that I loved them,” Michael King said after the service.