Now, family and friends are grieving the tragic loss of 23-year-old Melanie Yates, whom they described as a beloved person in their lives.
The bullet struck Yates in the head at her home in Zion, Illinois, north of Chicago, around 9 p.m. Sunday.
Yates and her husband, Daniel, were separately putting their two young daughters to sleep when the gunfire erupted. Daniel reportedly asked Melanie if she had heard what he believed to be fireworks, and when she didn’t respond, he went to check on her and found her shot in the head, according to WLS-TV.
“She was with her baby reading a Bible story to her 7-month-old and praying with her,” Yates’ father, Shawn Calderon, told WGN-TV. “You can see we’re struggling with them being traumatized.”
Yates is said to have died en route to a local hospital, but she was momentarily resuscitated before ultimately being taken off life support around 10 a.m. Monday, according to the Lake & McHenry County Scanner.
Outside the home, police found evidence that a gun had been fired multiple times. Investigators are searching for suspects but thus far have not made any arrests. Police do not believe Yates was the intended target, WBBM-TV reports.
“The girls aren’t going to know their mom anymore. They’re just going to have a memory,” Yates’ mother, Lam Calderon, told WGN-TV.
A GoFundMe account has been launched to raise money for the family. As of Saturday morning, more than $118,000 had been raised.
“Everybody who knew Lanie knows she loved Jesus Christ with every fiber of her being,” the family wrote on the GoFundMe page. There is no doubt whatsoever that she is in heaven at this very moment. But we on earth miss her very dearly. We miss her passionate, powerful prayers. We miss her infectious laugh. We miss her beautiful singing voice lifting songs of worship. We miss her feisty, witty humor. We miss her dedication to being an amazing, godly mom and wife. We miss her. And we wish with every fiber of our being she was here, but we know she’s in a better place.”
Funeral services are scheduled for October 30.