Lakeland community mourns mother killed in Christmas Eve double-murder suicide

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) Through prayer, song and lighting candles, family and friends honored and remembered the life of 30-year-old Racheal Ramsey on Monday night at Frances Langford Promenade on Lake Mirror.

Ramsey and her friend, 27-year-old Chris Pine, were murdered in Ramsey’s Lakeland home on Christmas Eve by Leighton Josephs, the father of her two children. Josephs then died by suicide, police say.

Ramsey’s two daughters and Pine’s two children were at the home during the shooting. They were not physically hurt and removed safely by officers, police said.

“I think it was good for the girls because they cried and that’s been something they haven’t done a lot of,” said Rachael’s mother Karen Ramsey, who is now taking care of her two young granddaughters.

“She loved her daughters, they were her world,” she added.

Many in attendance at the memorial were members of the Crystal Lake United Methodist Church.

“This community has seen her grow up,” Pastor Katie Sirmons said.

Ramsey called the outpouring of support for her family since losing her daughter “overwhelming and humbling to know that she touched so many lives that we were not aware of.”

Friends tell 8 On Your Side, Ramsey was a devout member of Crystal Lake UMC. At the church, she cared for the congregation’s children in the nursery when she wasn’t working at a daycare during the week.

“To know her was to love her and she was a very special person and she was filled with kindness and joy and she just lit up every room she entered,” said Jessica Criss, a close friend of Ramsey’s from the church.

During maybe the most emotional moment of the night, Ramsey’s loved ones placed white flowers next to her picture.

“I guess I haven’t wanted to admit that this is not just a nightmare I’m going to wake up from,” Karen Ramsey said.

She said the family plans to get help from grief counselors, especially for the children.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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