Community gathers at funeral honoring kids who died in freezer


    Family, friends and a community gathered together to mourn two of the three children lost monday after suffocating in a freezer Monday.

    “We’re in pieces,” said Jerry Meeks, an uncle of the two kids. “Just doing our best to breathe at this time.”

    The family says one anonymous donor covered the funeral costs. The family donated the rest of the money raised to the Ronald McDonald House.

    “We’ve had people reaching out to us really from all over the United States,” said Stephanie Cheshire, a Suwannee County victim’s advocate. “I know I’ve talked to well over 100 people who have reached out to me. It’s just really hit a lot of people very hard.”

    Just to the right of the San Pedro Church that held the funeral is a cemetery where, 6-year-old Dawlton and 1-year-old Cayliegh lie together in the same casket—each loved and remembered.

    “Dawlton, we call him Mr. Cheeser.” Meeks said. “He was always ready to take a picture. Always ready to ‘cheese’ for anywhere and everywhere.”

    Although baby Cayleigh was also a smiler, family says she was after a different kind of cheese

    “Couldn’t get her to stop smiling, she loved the mess out of Cheetos,” Meeks said. “Anywhere you go, if you didn’t have a Cheeto she didn’t want to be there.”

    Something this tragic is a family’s worst nightmare—but Friday night, as the kids are remembered fondly, everyone says to hug your family close.

    “They were taken way too soon,” Huskins said. Hug your kids, watch your kids.”

    “We just want to encourage everyone to love on their kids,” Meeks said. “Hold their kids tight and hug them tighter than they did before. Kiss them a little bit more. I know I do that more now for sure.

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