Vigil Organizer: ‘Dana And Her Family Are A Huge Part Of Our Community’

NEW STANTON (KDKA) — An estimated 150 to 200 people huddled around a bonfire in a small park in New Stanton on Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil.

The memorial was held just a few blocks from the scene of Wednesday morning’s murder of a mother and her 8-year-old son.

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Pastor Dave Hixon, of the Yukon New Beginning Church, told the gathering, “Lord, we know that Dana and Caleb are with you. Lord comfort us, blessed are those who mourn.”

Among those in the crowd was Hempfield Area High School student Casey Detweiler. He said he was best friends with the accused killer, 14-year-old Jacob Remaley, the son and older brother of the victims.

Detweiler says he was with Jacob on Monday, the day before the victims, Dana Remaley, and her 8-year-old son, Caleb, were shot as they slept.

Detweiler told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “[Jacob] was very nice. He was very polite to everyone he met. He was a caring friend, he listened, he was just a great person. It’s just kind of amazing he would do this. It’s ridiculous.”

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“Dana and her family are a huge part of our community, our school district. She was always the first one to step up and take charge, and if this would have been anybody else’s family, Dana would have been here, leading the service,” Anita Stoner, the organizer of the vigil, said.

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Organizers said they want to bring unity to the New Stanton community, and the vigil of song and prayer, is a step in that direction. Many there knew the Remaley family, others did not.

“I heard about this,” said Tim Marks, a mourner. “I just came to pay my respects; I have never come to a vigil.”

The day after the unimaginable happened in New Stanton, there’s one overwhelming unanswered question on everyone’s mind.

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Pastor Robert Thoma, of the First Assembly of God Church in Mount Pleasant, said, “It’s fine to ask why. In fact, asking why heals the heart. We don’t know why, there’s no saying why this happened, and even when we find out, we still won’t know answer the why.”