7-Year-Old Deals With Loss of Both Parents - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

7-Year-Old Deals With Loss of Both Parents

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - At just 7-years-old, Annabelle Kendall has been through more heartache in her short lifetime than many ever will.

One year ago, her father John Wesley-Thomas was engaged to be married to Michelle Packard. Tragically, at the 4th of July fireworks celebration in downtown Lansing, Packard was hit by a stray bullet police believe someone shot randomly into the air.

Just months away from getting married and getting her doctorate degree at Michigan State University, Michelle didn't survive.

"She was the most amazing woman I've ever met," remembered Thomas, Annabelle's father.

"When Michelle died he... I had to hug him like ten times a day because he missed Michelle really badly. And he got sick in his head," said Annabelle.

Annabelle's father John went into a deep depression. In May, he took his own life.

"He didn't just care about her--he loved her. I'm a bit happy for him because now he's with Michelle. He's... now he'll be happy," Annabelle says.

Not only did Annabelle lose a father and stepmother, she lost the chance at a growing family, an idea Annabelle was rather excited about.


"I wish they were married and what if Michelle had a kid and it growed up about six years old. And what if it was a girl?! I'd have a sister for once in my life. I've always wanted to have a sister," she says.


On Wednesday, a year and 20 days after Michelle's tragic death, Annabelle remembers her would be step mother at a ceremony at MSU, as the school presented Michelle's family with her official doctorate degree.

"I'm so excited to be able to say my sister Michelle Packard is a PhD," said Elyse Packard, Michelle's sister.

It's the family's hope that one day, young Annabelle will follow in Michelle's footsteps. A dream Annabelle herself shares.

If you would like to help fulfill Annabelle's college dreams, you can donate to her fund on Go Fund Me here.

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