Kamrie Heeren - Dantzler (family photo)
Jennifer Heeren - family photo
Tom & Becky Heeren - family photo
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Family and friends of mass murder suspect Roderick Dantzler's victims are coming forward to share stories of their loved ones and talk about their grief.
Since the drama started to unfold late Thursday evening, we've known there were a total of seven victims killed in two separate houses. We now know more about them as two different families are now living out the same horror.
"They were snuffed out in a moment's notice," said Ron Heeren, cousin to the the victims killed on Brynell Court. Friday, Heeren thumbed through a stack of photos while remembering a time when life seemed so much simpler. One he calls a fun time in the Heeren family and one that is a stark contrast from the ugliness that has invaded their world now.
"Oh it is terrible. I mean to lose their lives permanently," he said.
Dantzler killed four members of his family during his crime spree. The victims include Ron's cousin 51-year old Tom Heeren, Tom's wife Becky, the couple's 29-year old daughter Jennifer and 12-year old grand daughter Kamrie.
Jennifer and Kamrie were Dantzler's wife and child.
"We're in shock, pure shock," said Heeren. "It is just not things you would think would happen to you."
He says it's difficult to imagine what the family must have been going through in those final moments of their lives.
"I'm sure Tommy tried to talk him out of it and he probably was scared for his daughter and his grand daughter and his wife, but we would have tried to defend himself," he speculated.
He says he did not know Dantzler, but believes Jennifer had recently moved back home with her parents on Brynell. Tom and Becky Heeren leaves behind their youngest daughter, Aimee, and her children. Ron says the family is now trying to make sense of the tragedy that's taken so much away from them. He knows the healing process is going to be a long and difficult one.
There is a lot of reflection that you won't see everybody again. The kids were robbed the most," he said. Her (Aimee) little baby is going to miss grandpa's wisdom. It never had a chance to talk to grandpa. Aimee isn't going to have mom to lean on. We knew Tommy we all loved Tommy and he was a great person. It helps to share and tell what kind of people they were. And, Becky and Tom were very, very nice people."
Police also identified the victims on Plainfield. They are Kimberlee Emkens, 27-year old Amanda Emkens and 10-year old
A family friend says the mother and grandmother of those victims is absolutely distraught and understandably still in shock.
By Angela Cunningham