'We cannot imagine our life without her': Devastated family attends funeral for six-year-old Jessica Rekos as Sandy Hook community buries another of its tiny victimsSix-year-old James Mattioli also laid to rest on TuesdayA wake is underway for heroic teacher Victoria Soto, 27, who died shielding her students from the gunman
21:18 GMT, 18 December 2012
With her husband's hand placed gently on her back, Krista Rekos clings to the shoulder of a friend outside the funeral for her six-year-old daughter.
The heart-wrenching scene came as mourners gathered for the service of Jessica Rekos, one of the 20 children gunned down in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Friday morning.
Jessica, whom her family remembered as a
horse-lover and beloved big sister to her two brothers, is the latest youngster to be laid to rest in a long, almost unbearable
procession of funerals.
Hundreds of mourners swarmed around St. Rose of Lima in Newtown, Connecticut, for the funeral on Tuesday – eerily waiting until the funeral of another six-year-old victim, James Mattioli, had finished.
Grief: A mourner embraces Krista Rekos at the funeral of her daughter, six-year-old Jessica Rekos, who was gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jessica's father Rich looks on
Support: Rich and Krista Rekos look somber as they leave after the funeral at Saint Rose of Lima Church
Loss: James (left) was remembered by his family
as an energetic, loving boy who enjoyed math and sports. On Tuesday,
six-year-old horse-lover Jessica Rekos (right) will also be laid to rest
The two services came a
day after two other six-year-old victims, Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, were remembered at funerals on Monday.
statement, Jessica's parents, Rich and Krista, said: 'We cannot imagine
our life without her. We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful
memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis
understand why he can't play with his best friend.
'We are devastated, and our hearts are with the other families who are grieving as we are.'
Her parents called Jessica 'our rock.
'She had an answer for everything, she didn't miss a trick, and she
outsmarted us every time.' She was 'our little CEO'.
young girl loved horses and was 'a creative, beautiful little girl who
loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane,' her parents
Grief: A woman holds a picture of Jessica before the girl's funeral. She died with 19 classmates and 6 adults
Saying goodbye: Pallbearers carry a tiny casket out of the church following the funeral
Love: Mourners struggle to contain their emotions as Krista Rekos hugs a friend outside the church
Sorrow: Relatives gather outside the front of the church ahead of the funeral on Tuesday at midday
'She devoted her
free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses,
and writing stories about horses,' they said.
Her parents promised her that when she turned 10, she could have her own horse. She had asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and a hat.
They added: 'She spent time writing in her journals, making up stories, and doing 'research' on orca whales – one of her passions after seeing the movie Free Willy last year.'
She achieved her dream of seeing a real orca in October when she went to SeaWorld.
Mourners arriving for Jessica's funeral service
were directed to wait at a nearby school until James' family and
friends had left the Catholic church.
Heartbreaking: The casket of Jessica Rekos, 6 arrives at the same church after James' funeral finishes
Loved: Hundreds of mourners swarm the church on Tuesday morning ahead of the funeral for Jessica
Shock: A woman reacts as a hearse begins to pull out outside the church following Jessica's funeral
James' mother was pictured emerging from
the church at 11am to be comforted by friends, while young boys in
suits sobbed with their mothers.
A mourner leaving the church told the Connecticut Post that, during the service, James' mother spoke about the love she had for her child and what a positive influence he was.
'You were a good, good baby and your big brown eyes followed everything [big sister] Anna did,' Cindy Mattioli said in the service.
'Thank you for always asking to cuddle up on the couch with you and have a chat and talk about what we did today and what tomorrow will hold.
'Thank for lighting up the world with your smile. James, we want you to know we love you, we love all of you.'
Beloved: People file out after the funeral service of 6-year-old Jessica Rekos at the Newtown church
Missed: Jessica's parents, Rich and Krista, said they would 'talk about her everyday, we will live for her'
James's family have previously
paid tribute to the 'loving friend to all', who enjoyed nothing more
than a hug with his mother Cindy on the couch at the end of a school
He was also inseparable from his father, Mark, and family described him as a 'mini look-a-like'.
energetic youngster, known as 'J', also loved math and was working hard
to advance his reading, with his older sister helping him out with
longer words, his family said.
He loved football and basketball and would 'swim like a fish in both
of his grandparents' pools and ride his bike, proudly without training
wheels,' his family said.
James was known to sing at the top of his lungs and once asked his family: 'How old do I have to be to sing on a stage'
A wake is also underway for Victoria Soto, the 27-year-old teacher who died shielding her first grade students as she ushered them into a closet away from the gunman.
Farewell: The casket of six-year-old James Mattioli is carried from St. Rosa of Lima Roman Catholic Church, in Newtown, Connecticut on Tuesday. He was one of the 20 children shot dead on Friday
Comfort: James' mother Cindy is comforted as her son's casket leaves the church on Tuesday
Solemn: James' family, including his mother Cindy, are pictured as they leave the church after the service
The funerals come a day after the mother of the youngest victim, six-year-old Noah
Pozner, bade a final farewell to her son, remembering his 'twinkling,
At his funeral in
Fairfield, Connecticut on Monday, Veronika Pozner spoke about her son's love of video games and martial arts.
Friends and family also described hearing a 'beautiful' speech by one of Noah's brothers. The teenager said that 'we should all be kind to one another' during a moving eulogy today.
The community were out in droves for the funeral service and then traveled with a
police escort to nearby Monroe to lay the six-year-old to rest.
Noah was the youngest victim of the
rampage and his twin sister Arielle escaped unhurt. The family's rabbi
has said he encouraged Noah's mother to focus on her other four
children amid the grief.
Hundreds of mourners clogged the
narrow streets of Newtown today for another funeral, that of six-year-old Jack
Remembered: A makeshift memorial stands outside the church as the hearse carrying James' body arrives
Sadness: Mourners are sober at the youngster's funeral at the Catholic church on Tuesday morning
Struggle: Mourners embrace as they arrive at the service for James, who was known as 'J' for short
The little boy was described as an
avid sports fan who loved wrestling and the New York Giants. Jack was
buried wearing the jersey of his favorite player Victor Cruz.
Giants' receiver Cruz played in Sunday's football game
with the boy's name written all over his cleats and gloves, saying he was 'honored' to have been Jack's favorite.
Dozens of families who could not fit
into the funeral home stood outside in the cold and rain, waiting to pay
Irv Trager, whose son played football with Jack's brother, said the Pinto family is still in shock.
'I just feel for the families, it's unfathomable what happened here,' he said.
People came from all over Connecticut and
as far away as Georgia to pay their respects. Many did not know the little boys
but were so moved by the horrific murders that they thought it was
important to show support for the town and the grieving families.
More grief: Family and friends sob as they leave a wake for teacher Victoria Soto on Tuesday afternoon
Heart-wrenching: Mourners cry over the death of Soto (right) who died shielding her young students
Memories: A photo collage is brought to the funeral home prior to the wake of Victoria Soto
Tears: A woman reacts after attending Soto's wake as hundreds more line up to go inside (behind)
'It's love. Sometimes you can't explain
it. We just had to be here to show out support,' said Heidi Faust, who
drove from Atlanta to Newtown.
wore Sandy Hook sweatshirts or jackets from the community's other
schools as a show of solidarity for the grief-stricken community.
said they were still too shaken to speak about the tragedy as they
attended the first two of 20 funerals of schoolchildren massacred in
Photography agencies confirmed to MailOnline that their presence was allowed provided they remained at a respectful distance.
more detailed picture of Adam Lanza's attack emerged on Sunday. After
killing his mother, Nancy Lanza, at home, he shot his way into
the school. He had attended Sandy Hook as a child.
Devastating loss: Jack Pinto (left) and Noah Pozner (right), both aged six, were laid to rest on Monday following Friday's school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut
'My little blue eyes': Veronika Pozner, right, arrives at a funeral service for her son Noah where she made a moving tribute to him
Lanza was armed with hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines of
about 30 rounds each for the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle and two handguns he
carried into the school, and had a fourth weapon, a shotgun, in his car
outside. He killed himself in the school.
All the child victims were six or
seven years old. The school principal of Sandy Hook elementary, the
school psychologist and four teachers were also gunned down.
community will have to make a decision about what to do with the
bullet-ridden elementary school, whose students will for now
attend classes in an empty school in a neighbouring town.
'I think we have to go back into that
building at some point. That's how you heal. It doesn't have to be
immediately but I sure wouldn't want to give up on it,' said local
resident Tim Northrop.
VIDEO Family and friends gather for the funeral of Noah Pozner
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