Melanie Yates, a 23-year-old wife and mother of two from Zion, Illinois, was tragically killed earlier this month by a stray bullet while she prayed and read stories from the Bible to her baby.
Yates’ mother, Lam Calderon, told WLS-TV the family is leaning on faith amid the unthinkable.
“We have the hope and the assurance that she is in heaven right now with Jesus and one day we will see her again,” the grieving mother said. “That’s what we’re holding onto.”
Police believe Yates wasn’t targeted and the bullets accidentally struck her. The tragic event unfolded as she and her husband Daniel were separately putting their children to bed.
A loud noise left Daniel asking his wife if she heard what sounded like fireworks. When Yates didn’t respond, Daniel reportedly looked for her and discovered the unimaginable.
“He looked for her, where she was at in the house, and he found her shot in the head,” Calderon said.
The grieving mother was in disbelief when her son-in-law told her the news, calling it “just unfathomable.”
Yates’ father, Shawn Calderon, said his daughter had been reading the Bible and praying with her 7 month old at the time of the tragedy.
“She was with her baby reading a Bible story to her seven month old and praying with her,” he told WGN-TV.
Yates, who was a registered nurse with a passion for life, later died on October 18, from her injuries.
The family said in a GoFundMe description that Yates was known for her love of Jesus Christ and that she was a passionate prayer warrior.
“Everybody who knew Lanie knows she loved Jesus Christ with every fiber of her being. There is no doubt whatsoever that she is in heaven at this very moment,” the description reads. “But we on earth miss her very dearly. We miss her passionate, powerful prayers. We miss her infectious laugh. We miss her beautiful singing voice lifting songs of worship. We miss her feisty, witty humor.”
Family and friends gathered over the weekend for an emotional celebration of life.
The GoFundMe has raised over $140,000 for the grieving family as authorities continue to investigate the case.
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