Family of boys found murdered west of Edmonton speak at vigil: ‘Never forget them’
On the same day the RCMP confirmed two young boys found dead in a Spruce Grove, Alta. home were the victims of a murder-suicide, hundreds of people gathered at a sombre vigil in the central Alberta town of Whitecourt to mourn the loss Ryder and Radek MacDougall and to show support for their mother and stepfather.
On Monday, 13-year-old Ryder and 11-year-old Radek were found dead along with their 39-year-old father, Corry MacDougall. While the RCMP have not confirmed exactly what happened, they said the deaths were the result of a suicide and that the boys were victims. Police did not describe the father as a victim.
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Tuesday evening’s emotional candlelight vigil was held outside the boys’ mother and stepfather’s home where the family is grieving.
View photo gallery of the vigil in Whitecourt below:
The boys were devoted hockey players and many of their teammates and people from the hockey community showed up to pay tribute to their slain friends. Their stepfather, Brent Stark, is the owner of the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Stark and the boys’ mother, Tracy Stark, were the ones who made the grisly discovery of the boys’ bodies on Monday.
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“It’s just a respect thing, you know?” Daylen Black, who plays for the Midget A Whitecourt Wolverines, said. “Ryder was a pretty big part of the hockey community here and it’s just horrible what happened.”
Brent and Tracy Stark delivered the final goodbyes at the end of the vigil when they spoke to the crowd that had assembled.
“I know Ryder and Radek are looking down and I just, I just don’t know what to say,” Tracy said. “I know they’re going to give you strength to get through this, as they do me and everybody else.
“I just thank you for being here and supporting and loving us. Just never forget them I guess.”
“We’re lost for words,” Brent said. “We don’t know really what to say. It’s been a long 48 hours.”
Ryder and Radek’s mom, Tracy Stark, showed unbelievable strength tonight. She says it’s coming from her boys. #R&R #Whitecourt #yeg pic.twitter长沙桑拿/VLaq52jG9V
— Sarah Kraus Global (@SarahNKraus) December 21, 2016
“I completely broke down,” said family friend Ty Prokipchuk. “I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t deserve that.”
“We surround them with our love and with our hope,” said family friend Rodney Koscielny. “We surround them as a community. As we go through the shock phase right now, eventually grief but never forgetting.”
Family members lit lanterns to send up to Radek and Ryder in heaven and throughout the evening, many people with candles in their hands could be seen with tears streaming down their cheeks.
“I don’t think any of us know what kind of support we have until something tragic happens,” Koscielny said.