The parents of one of the two children killed when a bus smashed into a Laval, Que., daycare last week are remembering their daughter as a “ray of sunshine” in a letter published by several Quebec media outlets.
Maëva David was identified as the second young victim of last week’s tragedy in a letter written by her parents, whom La Presse identified as Jessica Therrien and Nicolas David.
In an emotional letter addressed to their daughter, the parents praised their youngest child’s energy and love of life.
“She had everything to become an engaged and well-rounded citizen,” the parents wrote in the letter published Monday in French-language media. “She will continue to shine in her own way by what she taught us, day after day, by the unforgettable memories she left us as well as by the lessons learned from the unspeakable event that stopped her little heart.”
The parents, who signed the letter “Jessica and Nicolas,” said their daughter adored going to daycare to play with her friends and was full of energy. The letter said Maëva, who was killed Feb. 8 just days before her fifth birthday, is survived by an older brother and an older sister.
The parents expressed their sympathy with the other victims and thanked those who have given support. A service will be held to honour their daughter at a future date, they said.
Four-year-old Jacob Gauthier was also killed in the crash and six other children were hospitalized. A funeral for Jacob will take place Thursday in Laval.
Bus driver Pierre Ny St-Amand faces two charges of first-degree murder, as well as charges of attempted murder and assault, after a city bus turned down the daycare’s driveway and plowed into the front of building as parents were dropping off their children. Police have not disclosed a motive for the alleged attack.
The owner of the daycare also spoke publicly about last week’s tragedy in a letter published Tuesday by La Presse.
Nancy Gschwender recalled rushing to her daycare following the news of the tragedy, only to be left feeling powerless after police wouldn’t let her past the security barricades.
“To the team, to the director, I tell you: this feeling of helplessness haunts me,” she wrote in a portion of the letter directed to the daycare’s staff.
“I wish I could chase away the images that will remain etched in your memory forever. But also know that you have all my admiration and my eternal gratitude. I’m proud of you.”
She said she is working with different authorities and levels of government to support the families of the children who attend the daycare and ensure they get the proper services.