For a few short minutes Saturday, a field near the Kenai Central High School auditorium was filled with bubbles symbolizing the loss of a Kenai mother and her two young daughters.
More than 60 people gathered to mourn the deaths of Rebecca Adams, who was 22 when she disappeared and her daughters Michelle Hundley, 5, and Jaracca Hundley, 3. Their bodies were found less than one-half mile from an apartment they shared with Adams’ boyfriend Brandon Jividen and the family’s dog. The remains of Jividen and the dog were found in the same shallow impression along with a handgun. Kenai Police have yet to declare a cause of death for the group.
Michelle and Jarraca Hundley’s grandmother, Lisa Hundley, sat on the stage, surrounded by photographs of the girls and spoke to the audience of the tragedy that has touched her family in recent years and the importance of family bonds.
Lisa Hundley’s son and Michelle and Jaracca Hundley’s father Jaramiah Hundley died in a motorcycle accident in 2012.
“I will carry them in my heart and mind, right next to the memories of Jaramiah and in this way they will always live, always be part of my life and always know how much they will be loved and missed,” she said.
Dozens of photos of Adams and her daughters played in a slideshow during the ceremony and as each photos cycled through — Adams making a goofy face, Jaracca grinning, Michelle as a baby cuddling with her mother — audience members dabbed their eyes.
Jennifer Ticknor, of Soldotna, ended the slideshow she created with videos of the three — several audience members laughed as a younger Adams tried to balance and walk along a tray of eggs before smashing several, screaming and giggling.
Ticknor took Adams in when Adams was a teen, said Peninsula Grace Brethren Church Pastor Larry Smithwick.
Smithwick said he suspected that many in the community didn’t know Adams and her two children until she went missing and garnered international headlines as the police searched for nearly 10 months before finding the family’s remains.
“The bodies were found, discovered what had happened and the evil that precipitated that immediately brought anger to me. I suspect that’s a pretty common feeling,” Smithwick said. “After the anger, the grief set in and then the sorrow and the sadness.”
After Smithwick spoke, the group moved outside to blow bubbles. As they blew, the wind lifted them to the west and filled the field where several children in attendance laughed and danced.
Lisa Hundley said she was grateful for the community support. During the search, dozens of community volunteers spent hours combing the woods and organizing search parties for the group.
“The words ‘thank you’ do not cover the gratitude that I feel for all the help that was put out there. That being said, I’m going to presume to ask the people of this community and people everywhere to do something more for this family,” she said. “Hug your children. Tell them twice as often how much they are loved, wanted and needed … I know from close, personal experience that in a blink of an eye they can be gone.”