Family hopes to raise money for headstone for daughter killed in - WNEM TV 5

Family hopes to raise money for headstone for daughter killed in fire

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

The death of a child is a devastating loss no parent wants to face.

That's the reality of one Mid-Michigan family. The costs of their daughter's funeral is so great they couldn't afford a proper marker to adorn her final resting place.

"She was 14. She would've been 16 this year," said Courtney Chervekowski, stepmother.

It has been just more than a year since Chervekowski and Jesse Beaushaw lost their little girl.

Brianna Beaushaw was spending the night at a friend's house in Flint when the unthinkable happened.

"It makes me so angry that somebody would do that," her father said.

While Brianna and two other children in the home slept, investigators said the mother of the other two children - Erica Starkey - and her friend - Rodney King Jr. - were doing drugs in the living room.

Sharkey left to find more drugs and when she didn't return King lit the couch on fire out of anger.

The three children were trapped inside and later died.

"When you get that kind of call, it's like everything inside you just, you freeze. You go numb," Chervekowski said.

Shocked, angry and devastated - Brianna's parents were now tasked with burying their teenage daughter. They spent all their savings on her funeral.

At Brianna's grave site there's nothing to mark that Brianna is there, except for a few flowers. Her parents want to change that and get her a headstone.

"It's like the minute you get out there, you immediately feel guilty because she has nothing to mark she's even there. It's like she's invisible," Chervekowski said.

She said they had a headstone donated to them, but during the engraving process it went missing.

Now a year later she just wants something for her daughter.

"So we just want to get her something simple. Something with her name on it," Chervekowski said.

They created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the headstone.

While it could never heal the anger over what happened or replace the memories of Brianna, they hope a headstone could bring some closure.

"She was my best friend. She was my partner in crime," Chervekowski said.

After Chervekowski's story aired on TV5, a woman offered to make up the difference in whatever donations would not cover. In addition, a mason offered to donate a headstone fully engraved.

"I'm floored. I'm just so thankful and grateful. I just can't believe how many kind and warm-hearted people that there are," Chervekowski said.

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