Mourners focus on positive memories of slain Stay family

SPRING, TX (KTRK) -- Saying goodbye to one loved one is hard enough. Imagine saying goodbye to six.

One by one the matching gleaming white caskets were wheeled into the church. The Stay family was to be remembered as they lived -- always together.

Parents Stephen and Katie Stay and four of their children were shot and killed at their Spring area home last week. Investigators say they were killed after refusing to give the location of Katie's sister to her former husband, Ron Haskell.

Family friend Marilyn Johnson said, "Very sad for those of us left behind."

Johnson lives across the street from the church, and was close friends with the mother, Katie Stay.

"If you never needed anything done, Katie was the first one on it," she recalled.

The words "Stay Strong" are spelled out in cups on Johnson' s fence, with colorful ribbons decorating her trees.

"Bright colors for bright thoughts," she explained.

Katie and Stephen Stay, along with their children, were tied up and shot execution-style inside their Spring home last Wednesday. Only 15-year-old Cassidy survived. She was shot in the head but played dead until accused shooter Ronald Lee Haskell fled.

Cassidy then called 911 and warned her family and authorities that he was on the way to kill her grandparents.

Inside the church, Cassidy sat front and center, flanked by family and friends. She's a young woman who has showed incredible poise and grace in the aftermath of such adversity, speaking publicly at a memorial this past weekend.

"I think she represents very well the strength that comes through faith, and the hope that one day her family can be together again," said fellow church member Don Guthrie.

That is the cornerstone of their faith -- the idea that families are forever and that one day they will reunite

The slain Stay family members are to be buried together in a private service.

No cameras were allowed inside the church for the funeral where more than 1,200 mourners tried to focus on good memories of the family.

Haskell remains in custody on capital murder charges.

An official memorial page for the family has been set up on Facebook, and those who want to donate to the family can do so on
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