Teenager who played dead to avoid massacre says she will 'see my family again one day'

Cassidy Stay, 15, was the sole survivor of an attack that saw her ex-uncle kill both her parents and four siblings

A girl who was the only survivor of a massacre that saw her whole family shot and killed by an ex-uncle has spoken for the first time since the attack.

In a memorial for the six family members that were murdered, Cassidy Stay, 15, said she had to “stay strong” and that she was comforted by the knowledge that her deceased family members were in “a much better place”.

Stay also said that she “knew” that "she would see her family again one day."

In an emotional  service at Lemm Elementary School in Spring, Texas she said: 'I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach are in a much better place, and that I'll be able to see them again one day."

Over 400 people attended the memorial that saw a tearful Stay address those who had made it to the service.

Cassidy found time to thank all of the nurses, doctors and police officers that had helped her since the attack and the 15-year-old admitted that she was "feeling a lot better" and that she was on the "straightforward path to a full recovery."

The massacre, which happened on Wednesday, saw Ronald Lee Haskell force his way into the Stay family home, tie up all seven family members and demand to know the whereabouts of his ex-wife Melannie Lyon, the sister of Katie Stay.

When the family members said that they didn’t know, Haskell proceeded to shoot parents Stephen and Katie Stay, along with their five other children whose ages range from 4 to 15.

While the other family members died almost instantly the bullet had only fractured Cassidy Stay’s skull, and the 15-year-old was able to play dead until Haskell left.

After Haskell left, Cassidy Stay immediately rang the emergency services reveal the identity of the shooter and warn police that he was heading to kill other family members.

Haskell collapsed three times in court when he received his charges Haskell collapsed three times in court when he received his charges  

Police were then tracked Haskell down, and after a short car chase, negotiators were able to persuade him to surrender peacefully.

He has since been charged with capital murder and is being held without a bond.

Haskell was eventually taken into police custody after a car chase and a period of negotiation Haskell was eventually taken into police custody after a car chase and a period of negotiation  

After the attack, Cassidy received treatment at the Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Spring but was released on Friday, with doctors saying she would make a full recovery.

Her speech today was the first time the obviously traumatised 15-year-old had been seen in public.

Speaking to the crowd and the television crews that had assembled to show support for the survivor, she quoted Harry Potter character Albus Dumbledore, saying that: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."

The grandfather of Cassidy and father of Cassidy's mum Katie Lyon, also spoke to the crowd and said the support they had received from their community had been "tremendous" and "overwhelming".

Read More Stories: Gunman charged after shooting dead four children and two adults in the same family He said that it was "hard to imagine if the family could ever move on" but said the best way he thought was to "concentrate on the living" and "cling to the hope of life that has emerged in this terrible darkness."

He said: "We are so happy that she has been able to join us", adding that, the family continue to be "in awe of how she was able to save them".

After the speeches were finished, 600 balloons were released with 100 each for each murdered family member.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable