Hundreds of people, many teary-eyed and emotional, attended a memorial service at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park on Sunday for a fellow student and three of his family members who were killed in a bizarre murder-suicide incident in the suburb about two weeks ago.
Investigators believe that Cedric Anderson, 42, of Dolton, shot his girlfriend, Ursula Nailor, 37, her sons Darnell Holt Jr., 16, Daniel Nailor, 13, and her niece Dominique Robinson, 19, of Bolingbrook, as they slept in their beds in their ranch-style home on Summit Road on Jan. 17.
The family was found dead at 7:15 a.m. after emergency personnel responded to a fire at the home that was apparently set by Anderson, investigators said. At 1:30 p.m. the same day, Anderson was found dead in his Dolton home from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
But at the three-hour Sunday memorial service, which included prayer, dance and songs by the school choir, speakers focused on the victims’ lives, talking about their achievements and the good times they shared with them.
“He [Darnell] was my buddy,” said his father Darnell Holt Sr. “He was starting to enter manhood. I am never going to find a buddy like him again.”
Dan Kraus, principal of Willowbrook High School, said Holt was a great student and athlete and referred to him as the best-dressed kid in the school. The teen was a freshman at Willowbrook High School and was on the football and wresting team.
“He brought life to our building that we will miss,” Kraus said. “He was a tremendous young man.”
John Taylor, the father of Daniel Nailor, became emotional, but said he couldn’t believe how fast Daniel was growing up. “He was getting so big,” Taylor said. “Before I knew it he was (tall enough to be) staring into my eyes. I will never understand how something like this could happen to four beautiful people.”
Daniel Nailor, who was in the 7th grade at Albright Middle School, was known by many of his classmates as a funny kid with a great smile.
“He was friendly, compassionate, funny and caring,” Albright Principal Scott Jackson said. “He was loved by all his classmates and teachers.”
Sheila Robinson, the sister of Ursula Nailor and mother of Dominique Robinson, said she had a strong bond with her sister.
She said Ursula Nailor, who they called “Coddie,” was a loving mother and often adventurous, giving the example of her learning to ride a motorcycle.
“She called me and said, 'You got to take this class,'" said Sheila Robinson. “I said, 'What class?' She said, ‘A motorcycle class.’ That’s just the way she was.”
Robinson could only describe her daughter, Dominique Robinson, also known as “AJ,” as special. Family members and friends at the event also said she loved animals and pointed out that she was tall with beautiful eyes and a nice smile.
“She was special from a very young age,” said her mother Sheila Robinson[cq]. “Everyone loved her.
The family has started up a “Taken Too Soon Memorial Fund” to help offset funeral and burial costs and possibly create an award in the honor of the two children. Donations can be made in person or by mail or wire transfer to BMO Harris Bank, 17 W 695 Roosevelt Road, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, 60181.
The family is also asking people to donate to the school district’s Partnership for Inspired Education Fund. For more information on the fund, visit piefoundation.org.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun