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.

But Charlotte, an outgoing girl with long and curly red hair, couldn't wait, and JoAnn let her daughter wear the dress and boots and did her hair special for the end of the school week.

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

Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, who had lived in Newtown for four or five years, and their extended family felt numb after the shooting, her uncle on her mother's side, John Hagen, of Nisawa, Minnesota, said.

"She was going to go some places in this world," Hagen said. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."

Daniel Barden, 7 

Daniel's family wrote in a statement: "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, said her grandmother, Nicoletta Davino, of Waterbury, Conn.

The elder Davino said her granddaughter would visit her and she would share recipes from her native Italy.

Rachel Davino, who lived in New Britain, Conn., especially liked to make lasagna and tomato sauce. "Every year, we'd make tomato sauce together," Nicoletta Davino said.

Olivia Engel, 6

Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family, 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.

In a photo circulating widely across the Internet and on news organization websites, the little girl is wearing a gap-toothed grin and balancing what looks like a traffic cone on her head and glasses on the very tip of her nose.

A guest on the website Legacy.com wrote on Josephine's page, "This photo shows your sweet fun personality. 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 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.

"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. 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.

“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.

"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.

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

A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.

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

She was an artistic, fun-loving painter who was "witty" and "hardworking," Hugh McGowan told Newsday.

"She was a happy soul," said her mother, Alice McGowan. "She was a very good daughter, a good mother, a good wife.

"I'll miss her presence," added Alice McGowan. "She died doing what she loved. She was serving children and serving God."

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene spent last year's holidays reveling in celebrations with her extended family in her first trip to Puerto Rico, according to her grandmother Elba Marquez.

Elba Marquez said the child'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

The Upstate New York town of Sherrill is thinking of Cindy Mattioli, who grew up there and lost her son James in the school shooting in Connecticut.

"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch

Ray Horvath, who left the school 20 minutes before the shooter entered, runs a before-and-after school program for the children. Four 6-year-olds who lost their lives were in the program, including James.

"James was a sweetheart of a kid with such an innocent face."

Grace McDonnell, 7

Grace, "a real cute little blonde girl with blue eyes," lived in a house that was still was still "all ablaze with Christmas lights" on the night after she was killed, neighbor Todd Werden 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, 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 reason the parents of six-year-old Noah moved from New York to Connecticut was so the boy, his twin sister and older sister could attend Newtown's top schools and live in a safe community, said the victim's uncle, Arthur Pozner, of Brooklyn.

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."

That's how Paige Tremblay said goodbye to six-year-old Caroline Previdi on Twitter Saturday. 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 said 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

Avielle was a dark-haired beauty who loved to read. Her favorite books were the Harry Potter books and her favorite color was red, according to a blog called Avielle's Adventures.

The blog is all about Avielle. It features a photo of the little girl, barefoot and dressed in a red, white and black dress, on a post about her birthday in October. The blog says Avielle celebrated her birthday with her friends and a party at the Zoar Ridge Stables, where she took riding lessons twice a week. Her training pony was named Betty.

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 spent most of her professional life trying to help kids from taking a wrong turn.

A school psychologist at the Sandy Hook Elementary School since August 1994, she worked closely with students, parents and teachers.

I "am always ready to assist in problem solving, intervention and prevention," Sherlach, 56, wrote on her professional website.

She died while trying to protect others, Diane Day, a therapist who works at the school, told The Wall Street Journal.

Victoria Soto, 27, teacher

Victoria Soto was known as Miss Victoria Soto in Room 10, a smiling teacher who underscored her enthusiasm over teaching first-graders with exclamation points.

On her page on the school's website, she wrote: "I absolutely love teaching first grade!'' and "I look forward to an amazing year in first grade with my amazing students of room 10!"

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 6 and a relative newcomer to Newtown. He was one of two sons of David and Francine Wheeler. David is a writer and performer with the Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theater. According to his biography on the website, he and his wife and two sons just moved to Newtown in April 2011. They had lived in New York City before that, where David Wheeler worked as an actor on stage, film and television.

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

People from British Columbia to Florida are offering their condolences, thoughts and prayers on a featured memorial page at Legacy.com for Allison.

No formal obituary has been posted yet, just a short sentence about the girl being one of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Little child, you gained angel wings today,” one person posted on the site anonymously on Saturday.

Anastasia December 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM
This was absolutely senceless........ There are no words that can express my sorrow! My heart & prayers are with the families and others that were affected by this tragedy!!
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