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Slain siblings mourned, laid to rest together

By: DANIEL CHACÓN
February 22, 2013
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photo - Eddie Johnson and Aimee Wooldridge spend a quiet moment with the casket containing both Scarlett Gallagher, 1, and her brother, Ryan Willhite, 3, who were killed in a murder-suicide last week by their mother's boyfriend. Johnson and Wooldridge used to babysit Scarlett and joined hundreds of other mourners at the funeral service at Woodman Heights Community of Woodman Valley Chapel  Friday, February 22, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette Photo by MICHAEL CIAGLO, THE GAZETTE
Eddie Johnson and Aimee Wooldridge spend a quiet moment with the casket containing both Scarlett Gallagher, 1, and her brother, Ryan Willhite, 3, who were killed in a murder-suicide last week by their mother's boyfriend. Johnson and Wooldridge used to babysit Scarlett and joined hundreds of other mourners at the funeral service at Woodman Heights Community of Woodman Valley Chapel Friday, February 22, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette Photo by MICHAEL CIAGLO, THE GAZETTE 

Siblings Scarlett Gallagher, 1, and Ryan Willhite, 3, stabbed to death in a murder-suicide last week in Falcon, were laid to rest together Friday in a single casket.

“The family realized that Scarlett and Ryan spent life together, and they went home together,” Pastor Eric Sandras told about 150 mourners, including several El Paso County Sheriff’s Office employees involved in the Feb. 13 call to a beat-up mobile home on a horse ranch northeast of Colorado Springs.

The children were killed by Ethan Courrau, 22, who stabbed the sister and brother in the neck and then killed himself with the knife, authorities said.

Courrau was dating the children’s mother, Catherine “Katie” Kane, who is pregnant with Courrau’s child.

While the Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the case, Courrau’s parents have said that their son was mentally ill and struggled with bipolar disorder.

Scarlett and Ryan were buried in a private ceremony in Monument. Their funeral was held at Woodmen Valley Chapel’s Woodmen Heights Community church, a short distance from where they were killed.

“This is a tough situation for all of us,” Sandras told mourners, including Kane and the children’s fathers, Victor Gallagher and Travis Willhite.

“Let’s just be honest. We’re not here to get closure because that just can’t happen in a situation like this, and we’re not here to pretend that we don’t hurt because that’s just denial. We’re here to move towards some healing in our lives to honor Scarlett and Ryan and the blessing they were.”

During the funeral, Sandras asked mourners to think of Scarlett and Ryan and one word.

“Just hold that word for a moment,” he said. “Now would you just speak that one word out loud?”

“Beautiful!” a man comforting a baby in the back of the church said loudly.

Sandras said he understood that words were too difficult to come by right now.

“This sucks. Would you agree?” he asked mourners, who nodded or said yes.

“This sucks. Life is not supposed to work this way. I’m not going to sit here and put religious Band-Aids on a wound that is so deep. I’m not going to sit here and try to make sense out of senseless evil. I just want to stand here with you and say this really sucks. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

The children’s deaths are one of those times in life where things don’t make sense, he said.

“It says in the Bible … do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. And that’s the choice that we have now,” he said.

Contact Daniel Chacón: 476-1623

Twitter @danieljchacon

Facebook Daniel Chacon

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