‘She was just brilliant’: 10 years later, mother remembers daughter who was killed by her dad

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Ten years ago, the unthinkable happened for Raechel Coffey.

Her 10-year-old daughter, Noel, and Noel’s 3-year-old half sister, Mia, were killed by their father. The two girls were from Hilton.

On Friday, Raechel sat down with News 8 to recall the moment she found out Noel had been killed. She said Noel’s father had taken her from a park and she called him to figure out where they had gone. 

 “He called me back and said, ‘We are just out getting ice-cream, we will be right back,’ and I said, ‘Oh, yeah? Where?’ And he paused, and when he paused, I knew something was wrong,” Coffey said. 

Coffey said she went to search his house on Candagiua Lake and that’s when she ran into law enforcement. 

“I said, ‘Is my child alive?’ And he said, ‘I don’t believe so mam”, and I said, ‘how?’ And he said, ‘there was a gun in the tent,’ and I just broke down from there,” she asked. 

Noel and Mia had died on September 5th, 2011.

Now, 10 years later, Raechel is remembering her daughter and the life she so brightly lived. 

“She was in the reach program for gifted children. She wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up. She loved dancing. She was a math tutor. She was a school newspaper editor. In second grade, she won the spelling bee beating out all the sixth graders,” Coffey said. 

“She was just brilliant. She would have made such such a such a ripple in this world.”

Today, Noel’s favorite belongings are in a box and their memories in Raechels’ heart. They remain a reminder for her family of the joyful light brought into their lives. 

“I made the mistake of watching a video of her the other day and it just tore me to shreds, just to see her laughing and smiling and dancing, just knowing that that light was put out so early,” Coffey said. 

Coffey said to help her heal over the years, she started an online group for other mothers who may be in similar situations. She says more than 120 women have joined the group.

“I found women in a lot of grieving mothers groups that had the same story as me where the father killed the children. And some of the stories, the father was would it was a murder suicide, in other stories, the father was going to trial or whatnot, and they had to write a victim’s impact statement,” Coffey said.  

To remember Noel’s life, Raechel is holding a memorial on Monday, Sept. 6 at Village Elementary School in Hilton, where Noel attended school. 

Raechel plans to read nine original poems at the gathering and will be releasing butterflies. She invites family, friends, and old classmates of Noel to attend. 

“I just want them to know she was a dancing spirit. I just want them to come and listen and then hopefully have a peaceful, peaceful time,” Coffey said. 

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