Parents of three Alberta girls killed in farming accident speak out
Published Wednesday, October 21, 2015 5:07AM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, October 21, 2015 6:46PM MDT
The family of three young girls who were killed after they were buried and smothered in a seed truck on a farm near Rocky Mountain House last week addressed the media on Wednesday.
On October 13, Catie, Jana, and Dara Bott were playing on their family farm when they were buried by a load of canola seed and suffocated.
The community has been rallying around the family ever since and they have recieved condolences from around the world.
“We need to address the overwhelming show of support from everywhere, from all over North America, and other places in the world. We’re very encouraged with help in practical ways at home and on the farm and the phone calls and the visits. We’ve enjoyed reading the supportive comments on Facebook and the GoFundMe page, they’ve been carrying us through too,” said Roger Bott during a press conference on Wednesday.
The girls' parents, Roger and Bonita Bott, talked about the impact the deaths have had on their family and the community and thanked the media for being respectful in telling their story.
“Bonita, Caleb and I have been through quite a week. There’s been a lot to process and to say we’re overwhelmed at how this is unfolding is an understatement for us. We ourselves are still in shock with everything that’s going on. To be honest when we first saw the news, saw the first news vehicle parked outside when we were headed to the hospital in Edmonton, we were a little apprehensive about the news coverage of our story and what was going to be put out there. We have to say that we’re very pleased, we thank you for how you’ve handled things and just telling the truth and telling our story,” said Roger.
The Botts shared stories about the girls and said that they loved family outings and spending time with their cousins.
“They were cool to be with. They were comfortable with themselves and they were comfortable being around other people. They all really enjoyed the farm activities like camping and fishing and quading and horseback riding. We did more of that this summer than we have in other summers and I’m so thankful that we got to do that. They were becoming a big help around the farm with yard work and cooking. They each took their turn to prepare and to pack meals for when we were harvesting and it wasn’t just Kraft dinner either, we have had lots of that, but they did it up right. They fried chicken and they did chili and spuds, the whole works,” said Bonita.
They remembered the girls as sisters and individuals and said they were all very different from each other.
“Catie, she was a vibrant girl. She was our first born. She turned 13 in September. She was totally embracing becoming a young woman. She was consciously working at becoming mature and responsible. She had a desire to set a good example for her younger siblings and make good decisions. She was honest and trustworthy and we had a great relationship,” said Roger. “Just a couple weeks ago, I was out moving grain in the yard and she was sitting on a horse, bareback, reading a book. She did that all the time. That was how she spent her time”
“Jana and Dara were twins but they were very different and very much individuals and embraced efforts to be individuals and not the same. She was a bit more outgoing, she had a very strong personality and she was determined to carry out whatever she had planned. She was decisive and persistent and she was a very hard worker and if there was a job to be done, Dara was my girl. Just the other week, I told her that, ‘you know honey, you’re going to be a really good mom someday and you’re really going to know how to run a household and you’re going to do a good job of it.' She has natural leadership qualities and we were really working hard to move her in the right direction with those qualities. She was definitely our Tom-boy. She did an amazing job of taking care of her animals and she involved herself as much in the farm work and the things outside with Roger and Caleb as much as she could,” said Bonita.
“Jana, she was a bit quieter in nature. She had a soft personality, she was gentle with everyone. She always tried to contribute to a relationship sometimes at the expense of her own desires. She was a really good friend. She didn’t like conflict and made efforts to live peaceably with her siblings. She loved practicing piano and actually looked forward to lesson day. She had a fantastic work ethic, when it came to her school work. She completed it thoroughly, in a timely manner. She enjoyed more hands-on activity, she was our craft girl. She loved to do crafts and sewing and all that stuff," said Roger.
The Botts say they are relying on their faith to help them heal and get through the tough days ahead.
“As far as where the girls are now, we’re confident they’re with Jesus, extremely confident of that, as you’ve noticed and covered, you guys have done that well, God’s a very big part of our lives. We’ve raised our kids and will continue to raise Caleb in learning from the bible and what it says about living life here and how to get to heaven when we die. We’re not concerned about where they are. We’re looking forward to when we’ll see them again. So as far as missing them and not being able to ever see our kids again, that part's okay because we’re going to see them again,” said Roger. “We as a couple, as a family, can’t get through this. We’re going to have difficulty getting through this on our own but the Lord is going to be with us and the Lord’s going to carry us through. He’s going to lift us up and we know that.”
A funeral service for Catie, Jana and Dara will be held on Friday at 1:00 p.m. at the Crossroads Church in Red Deer.
The service will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend on the church's website HERE.