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Mother remembers 3-year-old daughter, killed in Elliston train accident

Mother remembers 3-year-old daughter, killed in Elliston train accident (Image 1)
Mother remembers 3-year-old daughter, killed in Elliston train accident (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)


 SALEM, VA (WSLS 10) - Anna Rickman manages a smile when she talks about her daughter Marlee Dawn Rickman-Lily.

"She was an angel. Obviously you know he needed her more than we did," she said. "She loves to be outside. She collected marbles, keys, coins any coin we could fine," Rickman said.

3-year-old Marlee was killed Wednesday when her father's car was in the path of an oncoming Norfolk Southern train in Elliston. Anna recalls the moment she got the call from Marlee's father.

"Adrenaline rush. Scared. Anger. Worried. All of them mixed into one thing." Anna says the call came right after the helicopter took off to take Marlee to the hospital.

Anna says she's still in shock.

"I just hope and pray that I can manage. I'm just going with the flow."

She says her 8-month-old helps through the day.

"This is her little pocket book," said Marlee's grandmother, Julie Harrington as she looks through the white purse Marlee left at her home.

Harrington fights back tears as she holds on to her granddaughter's purse, recalling her love of collecting coins and missing the voice of the little girl who greeted her as soon as she walked next door to see her.

"I have 6000 pictures." Anna says many of the pictures collected on her cell phone are ones Marlee took, of the floor, of random items. She holds on to one of the toddler taken of the two of them last Easter.

Anna says Marlee loved to go see her daddy. He too was taken to the hospital, along with two other children, ages 5 and 7.

"From what he told me she passed away in his arms. I couldn't imagine that. I wouldn't have, I don't know how I could have dealt with that."

She's dealing as best as a mother can right now and offering advice to other moms.

"To every mother that has a child, to never take any second for granted. And cherish the little moment because you never promised tomorrow. "