Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Family Mourns at Christmas (Jennifer's ornaments)
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 11Dec99 D2
By Karina Bland: The Arizona Republic
GILBERT, ARIZONA -- The family of Jennifer Daniel is celebrating
Christmas without her. As reported in late October, Jennifer Daniels was
shot and killed by Dan Pasek, whose child she was carrying, in a tragic
murder-suicide. But her family is finding it hard to celebrate the
holidays without her.
Jennifer's mother is hanging her collection of ornaments on the family's
Christmas tree, one for each year of Jennifer's life.
"I really feel at peace because I know where she is," says Jennifer's
mother. "It's not her hurting. It's just us missing being with her." To
commemorate her death, friends have donated trees, including a lemon
tree donated by the LDS ward Jennifer attended. Another friend donated a
rose bush, and others set up a scholarship fund in her name at her high
school, Gilbert High.
Her three-year-old brother is confused about what her death means
exactly, asking, "Jenni doesn't need her keys when she's dead?" His mom
explains that no, she no longer needs her car keys. Devon spent many
hours with Jennifer while their mother ran errands. But sensing his
mother's feelings, he sometimes asks, "Are you sad today, Mom?"
Another brother, Jared, is serving a mission in Kentucky. He carries
copies of pages from his sister's scrapbook with him as a reminder.
Jennifer's 17-year-old brother Bradley keeps her picture in his room and
15-year-old Stephanie and 12-year-old Keri wear her rings.
Jennifer's mother, Deanna, had already purchased the Christmas ornaments
for each child before Jennifer was killed. Her ornament for this year
was a doe with a fawn at her side, appropriate for Jennifer's pregnancy.
Her family feels that Jennifer had cared for and tried to support Pasek,
leading to their relationship. But it wasn't the relationship that
Jennifer wanted, because she had already promised to wait for a
missionary. But Pasek was obsessed with her, and tried hard to get her
to marry him.
When her boyfriend returned from his mission in August, Jennifer planned
on giving the baby up for adoption, and got engaged to the returned
missionary. Pasek tried to get her to let him have the child, but
Jennifer refused, insisting that the child be kept from Pasek, who her
family claims bullied and harassed Jennifer.
"All through her life, she was such a good kid," says her mother. "This
is the one mistake she ever made, and she had to sacrifice everything