Local News

Vance County Family Grieves Over Loss Of Loved One

Posted May 1, 2001 7:31 a.m. EDT

— Losing a parent is devastating to any child, but losing a parent to murder is a trauma that can affect a child's entire life.

Donna Bills is raising her niece and four nephews. She took them in after her sister, Dana Robinson, was killed.

"I can give them the love. I can give them the nurturing," she says. "I can give them the kisses and I can give them the hugs, but the one thing I can't give them is their mother. That's what they want so desperately."

Last month, four children saw their mother murdered in their Vance County home. She was shot seven times by their father who then killed himself in front of the kids.

"They have a lot of hostility. They have a lot of anger and a lot of fears," Bills says. "It's very hard for me to address them in the proper manner because I don't know how."

"There are no programs available to help children that have been orphaned through domestic violence," says Damita Robinson, Dana's sister-in-law.

Through the Victim's Compensation Act, the children only got money to pay for the funeral and a limited amount of counseling. Sen. Allen Wellons (D-Johnston) says the state needs to do even more for its youngest victims.

"All five children are orphans because of domestic violence. We need to make sure that these victims get priority," he says.

For now, Bills takes the children's recovery one hurdle at a time. Mother's Day is the next big one.

"This year, I have to take them to the cemetery to see their mother. I'm not ready for it, and they're not ready for it," she says.

If you would like to help the family, you can make donations to:

The Dana Robinson/Taylor Children Trust BB&T Bank 213 North Chestnut Street Henderson, North Carolina 27536

A similar incident occurred early Tuesday morning in Clinton. Police say Keith Bradshaw shot his 29-year-old wife Karen and then killed himself. Both were prison guards.

The couple's three children were in another room of the house at the time of the shootings.