WATONGA — Early Sunday, Erma Daukei swore she heard the voice of her 8-year-old daughter, Rosalin.
After realizing the child wasn't there, Daukei said she broke down in tears with a gut-wrenching ache in her voice saying, “I just can't let her go; I can't let my baby go.”
Rosalin Renee Reynolds died Wednesday.
James “Icey” Daukei Jr., 20, of Watonga, is charged in Blaine County District Court with first-degree murder in the death of the second-grader.
He is accused of stabbing her multiple times with a knife.
Erma and James are cousins, the grieving mother said.
Rosalin is Erma Daukei's and Ralph Reynolds' middle child. The parents have been married for six years, but Daukei decided to keep her maiden name for personal reasons, she said.
“Ever since I was growing up, I liked the name Rosalina, and I wanted to name her after my sister, Renee,” Erma Daukei said.
With a heritage of African-American, Hispanic, Cheyenne and Kiowa, Daukei and Reynolds decided on a slight variation of the name Rosalina and named their firstborn daughter, Rosalin Renee.
Rosalin had just gotten a bike from her grandparents over spring break.
“She loved riding her bike and skating,” Daukei said.
Daukei described her daughter as a very outgoing and outspoken girl who loved everything associated with being a princess.
“She liked having her nails done, and she loved makeup,” Daukei said. “Her favorite colors are purple and pink.”
On Sunday, the family had the unbearable task of selecting a pink dress for Rosalin's funeral and burial. Her cousin and her 6-year-old sister plan to wear matching pink dresses and shoes to go with Rosalin's funeral attire, Daukei said. “They want to look just like her — they wanted to be triplets.”
The funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Watonga High School.
Rosalin also has a 10-year-old brother, who is having a hard time with his sister's death, while the younger sister really doesn't understand what is going on, Daukei said.
Already grieving over the death of one child, the parents' other two children have been taken away by the state Department of Human Services.
“They (DHS) said since a murder happened in the home and Ralph has had some problems in the past,” is why the children were removed from the home, Daukei said.
A DHS spokeswoman said Friday she was prohibited by law from discussing the case.
Court records show Reynolds has had several traffic violations.
Between 2000 to 2002, he was charged with driving while suspended, running a roadblock and eluding a police officer, records show.
The final night
Everything was running late — dinner, bedtimes, baths.
“It was a hectic night,” Daukei said.
She said she woke up early Wednesday to check on the children.
“I went to the bathroom and saw blood in the bathroom and a bloody knife in the sink,” Daukei said.
With a sickening feeling in her soul, the frantic mother went room to room searching for her children.
“I went into the girls' room and saw she was gone,” Daukei said of Rosalin.
Ralph Reynolds told investigators he and another man, Frank Skinner, found James Daukei about 5 a.m. Wednesday lying next to the child in a field behind Grand Prairie Apartments, where the family lives. James Daukei had a shovel which he had used to dig a hole, and Rosalin's body had at least four puncture or incise wounds, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Martin Solorzano reported in a court affidavit.
During the past five days, Erma Daukei's raw emotions have gone from one extreme to another.
“Ralph hasn't been beside me,” Daukei said. “I don't know where he is.”
But the grieving mother has had support from her family and community.
With grief ripping her heart apart by the hour, Daukei said she still feels sorry for her cousin, James, but is inconsolable about losing Rosalin.
“Every night she came up to me and said ‘I love you, Mom,' and every morning and throughout the day, she would said ‘I love you,'” Daukei said. “I just miss that so much.”