SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah teenager who authorities say killed his mother and three younger siblings is still loved and part of the family, his older brother said during a funeral Friday.
Danny Haynie, who wasn't home on Jan. 17 when the killings occurred, spent most of his speech fondly remembering his mother, younger sisters and brother but also took a moment to say he hopes his brother, the suspect, Colin “CJ” Haynie, 16, knows how much he loves him.
“He is part of our family and we all love him,” Danny Haynie said. “We all want the best for him. Part of me feels like I lost him too but at least he's still here.”
CJ Haynie was in several of the family photos that adorned a program handed out to the hundreds of friends, family and fellow parishioners who attended the funeral, including a large one on the cover.
Their father, Colin L. Haynie, who was shot in the leg during the attack but survived after police say he wrestled the handgun away from the boy, didn't mention his son by name but said he has made the choice to focus on the good memories. He said he takes comfort in imagining his three children excitedly exploring the spirit world under the watchful eyes of their devoted mother and his wife.
“Their spirit, their soul lives on,” he said.
Prosecutors don't know the motive for the slayings, but have said CJ Haynie “methodically” killed his mother and siblings one by one as they returned over several hours to their home in the small town of Grantsville, west of Salt Lake City. After his father subdued him, he told his dad he intended to kill everyone in his family, police have said.
The teenager is charged with 10 felonies, including aggravated murder and discharge of a firearm. He doesn't yet have an attorney. His first court appearance is scheduled Monday.
Craig C. Chistensen, a leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the healing power of the gospel will be there for CJ Haynie as well.
Four caskets filled nearly the entire space at the front of the church, each topped with floral bouquets. The casket for Consuelo Alejandra Haynie, 52, was white, while the one for Matthew, 14, was blue. The caskets for sisters Alexis, 15, and Milan, 12, were white with purple hues.
A table inside the church was filled with family photos and items honoring each of their memories. Alexis' yellow soccer jersey hung above several of the drawings that showed her talent and love for art. A Star Wars book and Lego set sat nearby wrestling shoes and a soccer ball to show Matthew's favorite activities. Milan's volleyball and some of the art she created with her old sister sat amid several pictures of her and siblings when they were younger.
Consuelo Alejandra Haynie loved to prepare meals, serve others and make other people's children feel welcome at her home, friends and family said. She did everything for her children, serving as their “mama bear” and protector, they said.
Milan was a feisty, tough girl who tried to emulate the traits of her favorite super heroes, Danny Haynie said. Alexis had a quiet confidence and infectious smile, he said. Matthew loved to win at whatever he played and was always talking about having the “higher ground,” something he learned from the Star Wars movies.
One collage of family pictures had the words, “Forever Together” at the top, a nod to the Mormon belief that families are connected forever into the afterlife.
“Families are eternal and that's what is going to keep us going,” Danny Haynie said. “I know we will be reunited again as a family.”