Friends, family remember slain mom, daughter
Updated: Sunday, October 20 2013, 12:10 PM EDT
Sodus, N.Y. – Family and friends gathered at the Crackerbox Palace Animal Haven Saturday afternoon to dedicate a memorial to a mother and daughter murdered in Wayne County this summer.
In between two freshly planted apple trees, people sat on a stone bench to remember the two women who, in their final act of kindness, lost their lives.
“It’s just nice to, you know, be here,” Chuck Moulton, the husband and father of the two victims, said as he looked around the memorial with tears in his eyes.
Moulton asked everyone at ceremony to take a moment and sit on the bench that looks out over acres of farmland. With a line of colorful fall trees in the distant background, horses grazed in the pasture as people sat and looked on in silence.
“This bench will carry on,” Moulton said as he choked back his emotions, “And that means something to so many people.”
The names and birthdates of 54-year-old Terri and 30-year-old Stacey Moulton engraved in the front of the bench, the date of their deaths the same.
On July 14, the mother and daughter were murdered at their neighbor’s home.
“Terri and Stacey, they were going down to take care of a cat and feed it because the guy was gone, away with his family and they were just going down to do a good thing,” Moulton said.
According to police, the two women walked in on a burglary in progress— going to care for their neighbor’s pet was the last thing they ever did.
“She had a big heart. Both of the girls did,” Moulton said. “If some little animal was having a hard time, they’d try to help out. You know, anything, wild, tame… It didn’t matter.”
Terri and Stacey spent a lot of time at Crackerbox Palace. Both volunteered there to help injured and abandon animals. Moulton said for as long as he can remember, his wife worked to rescue animals.
“The last one we did was a little robin that fell out of the tree and she lifted me up in the tractor to put it back in a little makeshift nest we did,” Moulton said. “That was just the kind of person she was.”
His daughter Stacey followed in her mother’s footsteps. Together, Moulton said, Terri and Stacey did all they could to help and improve the lives of others.
“It wasn’t only animals,” Moulton said. “It was people, too.”
Crusaders, the members of an online group formed to help rescue horses, raised money for the memorial. Terri was part of that group, but most of its 700 members had never met her or Stacey. When word of their murders got around, the group got behind another cause. Donations came in from across the globe to purchase the bench and support the Moulton family.
“They’ll never ever be forgotten, and that’s important because they were unforgettable people,” said Crusader Lisa Williams. Her daughter, Kristen, worked at the Moulton family’s farm and rode their horses.
“It’s just so sad because they were out doing a good thing,” Kristen Williams said as she cried.
Family and friends seek comfort at the memorial, a serene place to remember how Terri and Stacey lived, not how they died.
“It’s a very peaceful place,” Kristen Williams said. “The view is just amazing and the animals… it just speaks to who they are.”
On the seat of the bench is a picture of a horse with the quote, “No animal left behind” and the phrase, “Live, Laugh, Love” engraved below. Moulton said he wants the legacy of his wife and daughter to live on, their work and love for animals to continue in Terri and Stacey’s honor.
“It’d be so nice if people picked up and carried on what they… what they wanted,” Moulton said.
The man accused of the murders, 33-year-old Dante Taylor appeared in court Friday. His trial is expected to begin in February. If convicted, Taylor faces a possible life sentence.