Michael Bodley-Marsh, aged two, at the vigil for Kyla Rogers at Crawford Park in Casino.
Michael Bodley-Marsh, aged two, at the vigil for Kyla Rogers at Crawford Park in Casino.

Casino's emotional tribute to Kyla

A GROUP of 30 Casino women – including some mothers with children the same age as murdered Kyla Rogers and her surviving little brother Bronnson – came together in Crawford Park yesterday.

They and their children, and one dad, were there to send a message of support to the grieving families of the victims of Monday night's tragedy.

In a frenzy of jealous rage, Paul Rogers stabbed the angelic five-year-old's mother and her male friend to death, then drove to within kilometres of Casino and gassed Kyla and himself in a car.

The women also wanted to display a solidarity with the town in which most of them had grown up, brought together via a Facebook site, to demonstrate that Casino had felt the tragedy deeply and was determined to try to learn some lessons from it.

The mood was sombre, reflected in the leaden sky, although small children played happily, unaware of the recent tragedy.

Samia Baker, whose grief sparked the vigil, said those present were all friends.

“We just wanted to let the community – and the rest of Australia – know that Casino has been hit pretty hard by this, and to pay our respects to Kyla and her family,” Ms Baker said.

More than 170 people had expressed their sadness on the Facebook site, she said.

At the playground in the park was a book of condolences for people to sign, along with balloons, candles, a banner and bouquets placed in the fence around the play equipment.

A bunch of flowers and a cut-out heart containing a message to Kyla was left by Ally Summers, 8, and her brother Jonah, 5.

Their mother, Heidi, who has another son the same age as Bronnson, summed up the community's shock and fear when she fought back tears to describe how it felt to be a parent in such circumstances.

“It was scary, knowing that someone capable of those acts was in our area,” she said. “And the fact that the neighbours heard screaming but didn't call the police is very frightening.

“It's so tragic for everyone left behind, including the family of Kyla's father.”

Of the gathering, Ms Summers said: “This is what Casino is all about – pulling together and showing support for the family left behind.”

While it was impossible to explain how something like this could occur, it was important to draw a lesson from it, she said.

“And that is, don't turn a blind eye to the warning signs. Keep in touch with your community, and look after the little ones,” she said.

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