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February 21, 2014

Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Family gathers at cemetery, again

NEW CASTLE — For the fifth time, the Houk family has marked the death of their Kenzie Marie and her unborn son.

About two dozen friends and family members gathered Thursday night at Parkside Cemetery for the annual memorial service. Some family members wore red T-shirts commemorating the service, some released balloons.

Five years ago Thursday — Feb. 20, 2009 — 26-year-old Kenzie was fatally shot in her southern Lawrence County home. She was nearly nine months pregnant. Her unborn baby also died.

Jarod Mills, pastor of Clifton Flat Alliance Church, officiated at Thursday’s service, offering prayers and a Scripture reading.

He also noted that Houk and his older brother Eddie had grown up together in the church. They are reunited at the Shenango Township cemetery, where his brother is entombed just feet from where Kenzie is buried. Staff Sgt. Edward D. Mills Jr. died May 26, 2011, in Afghanistan.

“We come as a mourning people seeking comfort,” Mills said.

He also spoke of forgiveness.

“It takes time,” he said. “Your head knows forgiveness is the right thing to do, but the heart sometimes takes longer to heal.”

Houk’s parents, Jack and Debbie Houk of Shenango Township, thanked those in attendance.

“Your being here means a lot to us,” Jack Houk told the gathering, which included several children.

“We appreciate every one,” Debbie Houk added. “You’ve kept in contact with us, you’ve been here for us. You show us that you care.”

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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