Saturday, December 17, 2011
Blair Michaela Shanahan Lane, eleven years old, of Independence, MO, died July 5, 2011 at Children's Mercy Hospital.
Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. followed by funeral services at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at The Summit Church, 114 SE Douglas, Lee's Summit, MO 64063.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made at Blair Shanahan Lane Memorial Fund, c/o Blue Ridge Bank & Trust, 6202 Raytown Trafficway, Raytown, MO 64133.
Blair was born January 24, 2000 in Kansas City, MO.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandmother, Lily Michele Shanahan.
She is survived by her parents, Michele and Brian DeMoss; father, Jason Lane and wife Nicki and their children, Caden and Jalynn; brothers and sister, Brian Jr. and wife, Jamie, Samantha Blake and Jake DeMoss; maternal grandfather, Bob Shanahan; paternal grandparents, Dixie Lee, Denny Lane and wife, Marie, Doug and Peggy DeMoss; and great-uncles and great-aunts, Mel and Mary Hagen, Richard and Melanie Essex.
She is also survived by her aunts and uncles, Tammy and Rocky Shanahan, Heather and Shawn Gordanier, Wendy Shanahan, Erin and Mike Shanahan, Missy and Mark Arnold, Deborah and Marq DeMoss, Tammy and Alan DeMoss, Wanda and Chip DeMoss; cousins, Meagan and Kelsey Shanahan, Carsten and Brody Gordanier, Will, Sean, Reilly, Murphy, Sullivan, and Piper Shanahan, Alexander and Ashleigh Arnold, Aaron, Austin, Jordan, Corbin, Kevin, Shelley, Rebecca, Madison and Rachel DeMoss, Saul, Samuel, Kensey and Brooke DeMoss, Bella and Helena Essex, Tamara and Will Blalock; and Blair's dog Frisco.
Online condolences may be made to www.mtmoriah-freeman.com
Friday, December 16, 2011
A sound, a blast, a child lies dying
William Griffor recalls night of horror
Their house tells the story of people who left in a hurry.
Halloween cards from grandparents hang on the refrigerator. A half-empty canister of animal crackers sits on the kitchen counter. Toiletries clutter the bathroom sink.
William and Jennifer Griffor will rely on friends to sell their family's remaining belongings — toy cars, stuffed animals, an old-fashioned bread box — at a yard sale this weekend.
The person who fired a shotgun into their West Ashley house on Oct. 25, fatally wounding 5-year-old Allison Griffor as she slept in her bed, remains at large.
Charleston police on Monday night arrested three men in connection with an armed robbery involving a shotgun at the Pierpont Bar around the corner from the Griffors' house, but investigators have not confirmed any link between the shooting and the robbery or other recent crimes in the area.
That's why the Griffors said they left for their home state of Michigan after a memorial for Allison on Saturday afternoon.
"We can't come back to West Ashley with all the shotgun stuff," William Griffor said Wednesday. "I don't know where we're supposed to go."
Smoky fingerprint dust covers the white door to their rented home at 1733 Pierpont Ave., and a missing panel of wood gives a peek into how so many lives changed so suddenly inside this little home last week.
Someone roused the Griffor family at 1 a.m. on Oct. 25 and opened fire with a shotgun from outside their front door.
Several of the buckshot pellets traveled through the door, through a bedroom wall and into Allison Griffor's head as she lay asleep on the bottom of a bunk bed she shared with her older brother. Their baby brother slept in a crib on the other side of the room.
Griffor family spokesman Richard Douglas allowed The Post and Courier inside the home Wednesday, to see how the unthinkable happened, to see how an intruder's attack mortally wounded a sleeping kindergartener.
Chunks of wood had been blown away from the bunk bed's headboard and from one of the posts.
"If she had slept on the other side of the bed, it wouldn't have turned out this way," Douglas said.
William Griffor said he and his wife heard someone kicking the door early that morning. When he walked toward the front of the darkened house, he heard a shotgun blast and ran into his children's room, across a small hallway from his own.
Not realizing that Allison had been shot, he scooped up the children from of their beds and put them on the hardwood floor, away from the window, in his and his wife's bedroom. Griffor said Wednesday that he thought he heard Allison cry, but now realizes that he probably instead heard the sound of life leaving her.
"I think she was immediately with the Lord," Griffor said.
He walked back to the front of his home to "watch the hole" and make sure the shooter didn't try to come in. Finally, after Jennifer Griffor spent an agonizing eight minutes on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, he heard a walkie-talkie outside and knew deputies had arrived.
When they turned on the lights inside the home, he saw the pool of blood around his daughter and realized that he had mistaken her blood for his own.
"Then we were at the hospital," he said.
Allison died there two days later when the Griffors made the agonizing decision to take her off life support after brain scans showed no activity. They donated her organs, which went to three children.
The Griffors held a small gathering for their daughter Saturday at Crosstowne Christian Church before heading to Michigan, where they plan to bury Allison on Nov. 5.
A fleet of minivans and sport utility vehicles pulled up to the house Wednesday morning, and an army of mothers from church, school and the neighborhood hopped out, ready to clean.
The front porch still looks like a shrine to Allison, with partially deflated smiley face balloons that say "Get Well" and a clutch of stuffed animals dropped off by supporters.
Sea shells on the ground recall the family's trips to the beach during a time that made sense. Now, 7-year-old Aiden only knows that his sister went to heaven and 2-year-old Lucas wakes up at night, confused.
William Griffor said the family keeps praying, adding, "We were very happy."
How to help
You can make a donation to the Benefit of Allison Griffor fund at any First Federal of Charleston location.
Universal love for Allison
Family, friends honor 5-year-old killed in home
Allison Griffor would have wanted it this way: to say goodbye, not with dark clothes and crying, but with balloons, brownies and bright-colored dresses.
Classmates, church friends and their parents gathered Saturday afternoon at Crosstowne Christian Church on Bees Ferry Road to celebrate the 5-year-old's life. Allison died Thursday when, with her family and an entire community praying for her recovery, her brain scans failed to show any activity.
Someone fired a shotgun through the Griffors' home on Pierpont Avenue around 1 a.m. Tuesday, while Allison lay asleep in her bed. Several pellets traveled through the front door, through a wall and into the little girl's head.
The search for her killer continues, and Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon on Friday warned that if people with information don't come forward, they will face prosecution along with the person who fired the gun.
William Griffor said his daughter taught him love and, because of her caring personality, he and his wife, Jennifer, decided to donate her organs. The family said Saturday that Allison had saved three children's lives through transplants, one in Massachusetts, one in Ohio and one locally.
"Even in this terrible time, God's love just shines through it all," William Griffor said Saturday. With smiling photos of his daughter illuminated on giant television screens around the church, he said the family is neither angry nor vengeful.
He called the gathering a form of closure for all the children who knew Allison and needed a way to say goodbye to their friend.
"We will never have closure, but this is for them," he said.
Allison attended kindergarten at Drayton Hall Elementary School, where her older brother, Aiden, attended second grade. His classmates came to say goodbye to their buddy, too, before Aiden, his parents and his 2-year-old brother Lucas return to their home state of Michigan in the coming days.
Little girls competed over who could draw a better heart as they carefully signed their names in markers on an enlarged photograph of Allison where friends wrote messages to her.
"I love you Allison. Kendall."
"We will miss you, Allison. Love little Eddie."
Children sitting at short tables between the church seating crafted cards for the Griffors using colored construction paper and puffy stickers. No one actually took to the podium to speak at the gathering.
This was meant, as Allison's maternal grandfather explained, to be a happy event in her honor.
To help the Griffor family, you can make a donation to the "Benefit of Allison Griffor" at any First Federal of Charleston location.
Benefit set for Griffor brothersChristmas Day will mark two months since 5-year-old Allison Griffor was fatally shot as she slept in her bed, and a fundraiser Sunday aims to make sure her brothers get plenty of presents this holiday.
The benefit, called "Angels for Allison," promises live music from 1 to 7 p.m. at Plan B in the Ashley Town Center in West Ashley. Anyone who brings a gift for brothers, 7-year-old Aiden or 2-year-old Lucas, gets in free; otherwise, it's $5 at the door.
Allison, a kindergartner at Drayton Hall Elementary School, died following an attempted home invasion Oct. 25 at her family's house on Pierpont Avenue in West Ashley. Someone kicked the front door about 1 a.m., and as Allison's father walked toward the noise, the intruder opened fire with a shotgun.
Several buckshot pellets traveled through the door, through a wall and into Allison's head as she slept in her bed in a room she shared with her two brothers. She died two days later at Medical University Hospital after brain scans did not show any activity.
Her killer remains at large.
William and Jennifer Griffor moved their family back to their home state of Michigan after the attack. Family friend Richard Douglas plans to deliver the presents collected Sunday in time for Christmas.
Douglas said he also will gather donations to add to an existing $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case.
Sunday's benefit includes kids' games and free admission for children 10 years and younger.
The rock band Top Jimmy will headline the day; other performers scheduled are Hot Sauce, Sound Dogs, Trick Knee and Joe Cooke. Proceeds from raffles and a silent auction also will help the Griffor family.
Sheriff confidentThe killer of 5-year-old Allison Griffor will be caught, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said this week.
Cannon vowed in October that the person who fired a shotgun through a West Ashley home's door early on Oct. 25, fatally wounding Griffor in her bed, will pay for the crime.
No arrest has been made, but Cannon said, "The investigation is proceeding as it should, and we are confident we are doing the things we need to do. We are confident will are narrowing the search" for a suspect.
Cannon was asked about the Griffor case during a press conference concerning an unrelated matter. He said that neither the investigation nor reward money offered for information in the Griffor case turned up the tip needed to identify the suspect.
Investigators have said the shooting may have been part of a home invasion robbery gone awry.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — DNA from Eve Carson's Toyota Highlander was an identical match to that of the man on trial in her death nearly three years ago, an analyst for the State Bureau of Investigation testified Wednesday.
"It is scientifically unreasonable to believe that anyone other than Laurence Lovette Jr. was the donor of the dominant profile on the interior driver-side panel of the Highlander," Ivy McMillan said during the sixth day of testimony in Lovette's first-degree murder trial.
Authorities say Lovette and another man, Demario Atwater, kidnapped the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president from her home in the early hours of March 5, 2008, took her in her SUV to Bank of America ATMs to withdraw money and then shot her to death in a neighborhood near campus.
The DNA evidence, however, is the only forensic evidence connecting him to Carson at the time. SBI analysts testified Tuesday that they found no traces of fingerprints, hairs or fiber that linked Lovette to the crime.
Orange County prosecutors say other evidence does, such as ATM surveillance images, a .25-caliber handgun and Lovette's own statements to witnesses.
Agent Scott Jones, a forensics firearms examiner for the State Bureau of Investigation testified that pieces of the pistol that investigators recovered in some Durham woods matched spent casings from the scene of Carson's death. Two bullets recovered from her body also matched the weapon, Jones said.
Testifying Tuesday, Lovette's childhood friend, Jayson McNeil, told jurors that Lovette admitted that he and Demario Atwater went to Chapel Hill looking for someone to rob and ambushed Carson as she was walking from her house to her SUV.
"He said the whole time that Eve Carson was in the back seat that she was pleading for her life and explained that they didn't have to do what they were doing," McNeil said.
Lovette and Atwater then shot her several times with a .25-caliber pistol and a 14-gauge shotgun, McNeil said, because she had seen their faces.
"Before (Lovette) even shot her, he explained, she was saying, 'Let's pray,'" McNeil said. "She wanted them to pray together."