EL RENO — More than 100 people gathered Tuesday night to memorialize an El Reno mother and her four children slain one year ago. The prayer vigil, held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 382, honored the lives of Summer Rust, 25, her daughters Kirsten Rust, 7, Autumn Rust, 7, and Evynn Garas, 3, and son Teagin Rust, 4. All five were found strangled Jan. 12, 2009, in their El Reno apartment. Kathy Longhat opened the vigil with a prayer and read a short message by Susan Rust, Summer Rust’s mother. "One year ago today, God rescued my babies from a horrible fate. He pulled them from the wreckage of their earthly vessels one by one and sat them safely on the golden shores of heaven and went back for the next,” read Longhat. The lights were dimmed as candles of remembrance were lit at the front of the hall. Family members shed tears and shared embraces in front of portraits of the slain family. "I’ve learned that there are a lot of people that care,” Susan Rust said. "There are a lot more people that care than people who don’t.” "I have a lot of things that are open-ended. This was not part of our plan at all. So we’re just trying to roll with it and find out what it is we’re supposed to learn or who we’re supposed to help. There has to be a reason somewhere,” she said. Susan Rust said in addition to the strangers who have aided or consoled her, she’s met many more through social networking sites such as Facebook. Longhat met the family after the killings. Longhat — an American Indian pastor and singer — also sang at the funeral service last year. Longhat said Susan Rust has helped her overcome some of her own grief in mid-2009 when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. "It’s never by coincidence that God brings people into our lives. It was a blessing to come together. Susan would do anything for you,” Longhat said. Officials arrested Summer Rust’s boyfriend, Joshua Steven Durcho, now 26, Jan. 13, 2009, after he crashed Summer Rust’s car near Waco, Texas. Durcho, who remains jailed in Canadian County without bail, faces a trial April 5 on five murder counts. A judge in October denied a defense challenge to the death penalty.
NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.