SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The deaths of three young girls and their mother have sent a shockwave of grief across a northern Kent County community.
The bodies of 2-year-old Alaina Rau, 6-year-old Cassidy Rodery, 8-year-old Kyrie Rodery and 28-year-old Aubrianne Moore were discovered around 3 p.m. Monday at a property along 19 Mile Road near Division Avenue in Solon Township, northwest of Cedar Springs. They died from apparent gunshot wounds.
Shortly after the news came out, Tri County Area Schools Superintendent Allen Cumings activated the district’s crisis response team and sent out a letter to parents.
“We hurt and mourn with the loss of these precious students. Please keep the family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this time,” he stated in the letter.
Cumings says Cassidy was a first-grader at MacNaughton Elementary and 8-year-old Kyrie was a third-grader at Sand Lake Elementary.
Cassidy was remembered by her teacher as a “’friend to everyone, a hard worker and always on task,’” the letter stated.
Her sister, Kyrie had similar accolades from her teacher: “’(She) loved to read, always volunteered to help others, her classmates loved her and that she was a good friend.’”
The district is also sharing steps to help children understand and cope with the tragedy, as well as offering support and grief counseling to classmates and staff who knew the girls.
“I think that anytime, with these situations, healing takes time. These two young students were good friends to other students. Some of the challenges in working with young children is helping them process this; they don’t fully understand what a classmate passing means. So sometimes it takes longer. These are young children, so there will be conversations throughout today and through the week,” Cumings explained.
Tri County Area Schools encourages every parent to listen and watch children closely so they can understand if their child is struggling with grief.
“That becomes important, helps you as a parent understand is this something I can continue working with my child on or do I need to call the school to see if they might have resources to help do that as well,” Cumings said.
Parents should also be mindful of the language they use, bringing any explanations down to the child’s level of understanding.
Grief counselors will be available at the district throughout the week.
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, there is help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.