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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee