Sandy Hook Victims Remembered: 'They Didn't Deserve Any of This'

One day after police released the names of the victims of Friday's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School details are emerging about the victims, their families and their lives.


So many of the victims of Friday's shooting were just beginning their lives, but they had already made their beauty known to so many. Here are just a few of those stories. 

Charlotte Bacon, 6

JoAnn Bacon had bought her daughter a new pink dress and boots for the holidays, according to Newsday.

But JoAnn let Charlotte wear the dress and boots for the end of the school week.

"She was going to go some places in this world," Charlotte's uncle, John Hagen of Nisawa, Minnesota, said. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."

Her older brother, Guy, was also in the school, but survived.

Daniel Barden, 7 

Daniel's family wrote in a statement, according to The Register-Citizen: "Everyone who has ever met Daniel remembers and loves him. Words really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light. Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy. Daniel was fearless in his pursuit of happiness and life. He earned his ripped jeans and missing two front teeth. Despite that, he was, as his mother said, 'Just So Good.' He embodied everything that is wholesome and innocent in the world. Our hearts break over losing him and for the many other families suffering loss."

Rachel Davino, 29

Rachel Davino, a teacher's aide at Sandy Hook, loved to cook,  her grandmother, Nicoletta Davino, of Waterbury, Conn, told USA Today, and the two would share Italian recipes.

Rachel Davino, who lived in New Britain, would also make tomato sauce when she visited each year, the elder Davino said.

Olivia Engel, 6

Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family according to WTNH, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to say when he thinks of her. 

"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader." 

On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house. 

Josephine Gay, 7

Josephine Gay turned seven three days before the shooting massacre at the Sandy Hook School, according to USA Today.

In one particular photo, Gay is grinning while she balances what appears to be traffic cone on her head and glasses on the tip of her nose.

"This photo shows your sweet fun personality," a guest on Legacy.com wrote on Gay's page. "You will be missed and thought of always."

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Dawn, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010, according to WTNH, that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too.

In October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend. 

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dylan was a playful boy whose family moved to the area after living in England, a neighbor said, according to Newsday.

"The Hockleys have swingsets in their front yard and are pleasant neighbors," said Nick Germak, who also lives in the neighborhood.

"Just normal, happy kids," said Nicole Germak, Nick's 12-year-old daughter, who attended Sandy Hook when she was in elementary school.

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine’s house Saturday tending to her stricken family, according to Newsday. He said the family did not want to comment.

Velsmid said that after learned of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance, but there were no injuries to treat.

Velsmid’s daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Catherine’s parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the supportive community.

“We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy,” Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said, according to Newsday.

“We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy.”

Chase Kowalski, 7

Chase was always outside, playing in the backyard, riding his bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing— and winning—his first mini-triathlon, according to Newsday.

"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said. Grimes' own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. 

Nancy Lanza, 52, gunman's mother

She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son's first victim.

Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.

Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-respected, Briggs said.

Jesse Lewis, 6

Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning, according to WTNH.

Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.

"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.

Anne Marie Murphy, 52, teacher

Murphy was artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking, according to USA Today.

Her parents, Hugh and Alice McGowan, told The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., that she was "smart and dedicated" woman.

"She was a happy soul," McGowan told Newsday.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene the holiday's last year on her first trip to Puerto Rico, her grandmother Elba Marquez told Newsday.

Marquez said the Ana's nine year-old brother was also at the school, but escaped safely.

The family plans on establishing a music scholarship in memory of Ana, who loved to sing.

James Mattioli, 6

"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," William Vineall, mayor of upstate New York town Sherrill, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch, according to USA Today. Sherrill is where James' mother Cindi grew up.

Ray Horvath, who runs a before- and after-school program that James attended that he was a "sweetheart of a kid."

Grace McDonnell, 7

Grace was "a real cute little blonde girl with blue eyes", Todd Werden, a neighbor of the McDonnells, told the Washington Post.

Emilie Parker, 6

She was blonde and cheerful, a 6-year-old girl who loved to draw and hated new foods. Her father, Robbie Parker, said his daughter was always smiling. Through tears he said, "I'm so blessed to be her Dad."

Her grandfather lives in Ogden, Utah according to KSL.com, where he raised Robbie. "Adults make the choices they do, but these innocent children, they didn't deserve any of this."

Jack Armistead Pinto, 6

Jack was an avid participant in a wide variety of activities including flag football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and snow skiing. Jack was "an incredibly loving and vivacious young boy, appreciated by all who knew him for his lively and giving spirit and steely determination," according to an obituary on the Newtown Bee.  

"In life and in death, Jack will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his six short years."

Noah Pozner, 6

The parents of six-year-old Noah moved from New York to Connecticut he and his sisters could attend live in a safe community, said the victim's uncle, Arthur Pozner, according to Newsday.

The boy's twin sister and 8-year-old sister were also students at the school, but they had not been hurt, Pozner said.

He had not been able to reach the Connecticut family to see how they were coping with the tragedy.

Caroline Previdi, 6

"You were a sweet little girl and you will be missed," Paige Tremblay wrote about six-year-old Caroline Previdi on Twitter Saturday, according to the Register-Citizen.

Tremblay's five-year-old niece was a playmate of Previdi's, according to her feed. "It hurts even more to see a familiar name on that list," she wrote in a later tweet.

Jessica Adrienne Rekos, 6

Jessica loved horseback riding, learning about orcas, writing, and playing with her little brothers, according to an obituary in the Newtown Bee.

Avielle Richman, 6

Her blog, which is called Avielle's Adventures, states that Avielle loved to read, her favorite books were the Harry Potter books and her favorite color was red, according to USA Today.

Lauren Rousseau, 30, teacher

She wanted to a teacher "from before she even went to kindergarten" Lauren Rousseau's family said in a brief statement released Saturday. Her family told the Hartford Courant that Rousseau had worked as a subsitute teacher for years after graduating from the University of Connecticut. She had just recently gotten a permanent substituting job at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Rousseau's mother issued a statement last night on her daughter's death that was heart-wrenching in its brevity. "We will miss her terribly ... "

Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist

Mary Sherlach enjoyed her work at Sandy Hook, especially when she could get through to a struggling student.  

"She wanted to help kids get over their problems and go on to be successful," Eric Schwartz said.

Mary Sherlach was an avid Miami Dolphins fan, and she could easily get riled up during a game, especially when her team wasn't performing well, her son-in-law recalled. He took good-natured ribbing from her for being a Buffalo Bills fan. 

"She was very sharp and she had a very nice sense of humor," Schwartz said. "She was opinionated, but in a good way."

Victoria Soto, 27, teacher

Victoria "Vicki" Soto loved teaching at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Before becoming a first-grade teacher she interned at the school for two years.

"This is my third year as a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook School! I absolutely love teaching first grade!" begins her profile on the school's website.

Soto's lifelong dream was to be a teacher. The Stratford native's graduating class is establishing a memorial fund in their former classmate's name.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Benjamin was six and one of two sons of David and Francine Wheeler, according to USA Today. His father is a writer and performer with the Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theater and moved his family to Newtown in April 2011.

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

People from across the country are expressing their condolences on a featured memorial page at Legacy.com for Wyatt, according to the Register-Citizen.

“Little child, you gained angel wings today,” an anonymous posted wrote on the page Saturday.

Eliza Maria December 17, 2012 at 03:20 PM
May you all rest in peace. God bless you all.
Karen December 18, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I believe the entire nation is grieving your loss. It is an unbelievable tragedy. We pray for your lost loved ones and those they left behind to endure this painful memory. God rest their souls!
Elizabeth Ashley Johnson December 18, 2012 at 05:47 AM
To All The Beautiful,Wonderful Young Girls and to The Handsome,Wonderful Young Boys,May your souls Rest In Peace. To all the Beautiful,Wonderful and BRAVE WOMEN,May your souls Rest In Peace. Each and everyone of your jobs on earth are now done,and you are now ANGELS to all that you Love and all that Love You. No Farewell Words Were Spoken,No Time To Say Goodbye,You Were Gone Before We Knew It,And Only God Knows Why. My thoughts and prayers are with all Family and Friends of those whom were taken home to Heaven. God Bless To You All!!!! Elizabeth Ashley Johnson, Kentucky
Lorie Miller December 19, 2012 at 07:55 PM
We as parents are all grieving your loss,May god give you strength during this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with you.God has called all his Angels back to be with him in heaven. God Bless you all!


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