Vigil held for victim of Christmas Eve murder-suicide in Lakeland
LAKELAND, Fla. - Family and friends of a Lakeland woman killed on Christmas Eve in a double-murder, suicide gathered at Lakeland's Lake Mirror to hold a candlelight vigil.
Racheal Ramsey and her friend, Chris Pine were killed in front of four children at her home, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, Leighton Josephs.
Several hundred gathered Monday night, lit candles, and sang songs.
“It is just so overwhelming and humbling to know that she touched so many lives we were not aware of," said her mother, Karen Ramsey, who spoke to the media following the service.
She got the farewell she deserved.
“God did not plan this," said Pastor Katie Sirmons of the United Methodist Church There was no plan on earth that could God could weave for this suffering.”
Loved ones paid tribute to the 30-year-old who loved weekly lunches with friends and Star Wars movies, almost as much as she loved her church.
“It’s OK to be mad," said Sirmons. "It’s OK to yell at God. It’s OK to not understand.”
Police say Ramsey's relationship with shooter Leighton Josephs had gone south, and that there had been calls for service to the home.
In the days since, the community has offered to help the four children who were in the home when the shots were fired, including bringing them Christmas gifts.
If there’s one thing her mom wants everyone to know, it’s this:
“She loved kids," said Ramsey. "She loved her daughters. They were her world.”
Why the end came for her so soon, in such an unspeakable way, will never be understood.
“This is not just a nightmare I am going to be waking up from," said Ramsey. "To know that there are so many people supporting us it is just very heartwarming.”
The family of Christopher Pine says they are in the process of organizing a candlelight memorial service.