Nearly two months after her daughter and four grandchildren were found strangled in their El Reno apartment, Susan Rust is still finding new photos and mementos. She’s afraid she’ll run out soon.
"I have pictures around my whole house,” Rust said last week from her Carson City, Nev., home. "Her friends have pictures I haven’t seen. I’ve found some of Summer’s friends on MySpace, which she taught me how to use.”
Rust’s daughter, Summer Rust, 25, granddaughters Kirsten Rust, 7, Autumn Rust, 7, and Evynn Garas, 3, and grandson Teagin Rust, 4, were found dead Jan. 12. Summer Rust’s boyfriend, Joshua Durcho, 26, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder in connection with their deaths.
"I still talk to them,” Susan Rust said. "I think about them all the time.”
Susan Rust spent about two weeks in Oklahoma after the deaths. She has since sought solace from family, friends, prayer, a psychologist and a psychic. But she said her newfound friendship with her daughter’s friends in El Reno, some of whom she didn’t know well before January, have been as helpful to her as anything.
"The text messages they sent to her, they send to me now,” Rust said.
Strangers in Oklahoma overwhelmed her with their support. Local businesses and helpful souls offered to help with travel expenses so she can attend court proceedings. But she expressed frustration with state officials, saying she has received only two phone calls.
Someone from the medical examiner’s office called her on Jan. 13 to tell her autopsies had been completed on her daughter and Teagin, she said. Someone from the Canadian County district attorney’s office called her Thursday, returning her call regarding a pretrial meeting between the prosecutor and Durcho’s defense attorneys.
"I feel like they owe me more than that,” Rust said. "Just because my daughter was over 18 or 21 doesn’t mean she’s not still my little girl.”
El Reno Police Chief Ken Brown said officers kept Rust notified through family members in El Reno and through direct phone calls.
"It may have been three or four days or a week between calls, but we made every effort to keep family as updated as possible,” Brown said.