Texas family shooting: Teenager who played dead to avoid massacre says she will 'see my family again one day'
Published 13/07/2014 | 20:40
A girl who was the only survivor of a massacre that saw her whole family shot and killed by an ex-uncle has spoken for the first time since the attack.
In a memorial for the six family members that were murdered, Cassidy Stay, 15, said she had to “stay strong” and that she was comforted by the knowledge that her deceased family members were in “a much better place”.
Stay also said that she “knew” that "she would see her family again one day."
In an emotional service at Lemm Elementary School in Spring, Texas she said: 'I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach are in a much better place, and that I'll be able to see them again one day."
Over 400 people attended the memorial that saw a tearful Stay address those who had made it to the service.
Cassidy found time to thank all of the nurses, doctors and police officers that had helped her since the attack and the 15-year-old admitted that she was "feeling a lot better" and that she was on the "straightforward path to a full recovery."
The massacre, which happened on Wednesday, saw Ronald Lee Haskell force his way into the Stay family home, tie up all seven family members and demand to know the whereabouts of his ex-wife Melannie Lyon, the sister of Katie Stay.
When the family members said that they didn’t know, Haskell proceeded to shoot parents Stephen and Katie Stay, along with their five other children whose ages range from 4 to 15.
While the other family members died almost instantly the bullet had only fractured Cassidy Stay’s skull, and the 15-year-old was able to play dead until Haskell left.
After Haskell left, Cassidy Stay immediately rang the emergency services reveal the identity of the shooter and warn police that he was heading to kill other family members.
Police were then tracked Haskell down, and after a short car chase, negotiators were able to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
He has since been charged with capital murder and is being held without a bond.
After the attack, Cassidy received treatment at the Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Spring but was released on Friday, with doctors saying she would make a full recovery.
Her speech today was the first time the obviously traumatised 15-year-old had been seen in public.
Speaking to the crowd and the television crews that had assembled to show support for the survivor, she quoted Harry Potter character Albus Dumbledore, saying that: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."
The grandfather of Cassidy and father of Cassidy's mum Katie Lyon, also spoke to the crowd and said the support they had received from their community had been "tremendous" and "overwhelming".
He said that it was "hard to imagine if the family could ever move on" but said the best way he thought was to "concentrate on the living" and "cling to the hope of life that has emerged in this terrible darkness."
He said: "We are so happy that she has been able to join us", adding that, the family continue to be "in awe of how she was able to save them".
After the speeches were finished, 600 balloons were released with 100 each for each murdered family member.