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Local Organization Allows Kids to Find Help During Tragedies

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Lost and Found Grief Center is an organization that provides help, hope and healing to grieving families. Dr. Karen Scott talks about helping kids recover from tragic events.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Murder-Suicide is what police believe happened to a husband and wife in south Springfield.

Rudolph and Stephanie Fajardo were found dead inside their home on East Northshire Friday morning.

Police say the couple's seven year old child called 911.  Three other kids were inside the home ages six, three and one.  None of them were hurt.

Investigators say the evidence indicates Rudolph Fajardo shot his wife, then himself.

Dr. Fajardo had worked at Cox Health since 2008.

KOLR10 asked a doctor at the Lost and Found Grief Center about the impacts these situations can have on children.

Lost and Found Grief Center is an organization that provides help, hope and healing to grieving families.

The organization has not had any contact with the Fajardo children, but it deals with similar situations on a daily basis.

The memory of a love one's death has a lasting impact.

"A suicide death is bad enough," says Co-Founder and Executive Director of Lost and Found Dr. Karen Scott.  "But for a child to witness that and have to call for help and witness the emergency vehicles, it becomes a big trauma scene that replays in their heads over and over again."

The Lost and Found Grief Center works daily with kids who have lost their parents whether it be to some kind of accident, a sickness, murder or suicide.

"Most of these parents are loving parents," says Dr. Scott.  "They love their children, so it speaks to an irrational state of mind.  It is very surprising to us how many children are home when a suicide occurs."

Dr. Scott says children need to address and work through traumatic memories in order to grieve and recover.

"There's no way to make it go away and it's something they'll deal with through different stages of their lives as they gain awareness of what that means.  We know if we address issues appropriately early on, it lessens the likelihood of life long impacts in terms of things like post traumatic stress syndrome."

Dr. Scott says while it's hard for adults to grasp "gone forever," it's exponentially more difficult for children to wrap their heads around it.

"It's a gradual process," she says.  "They need their immediate emotional needs met and they will require a lot of love and attention for months and months ahead.  Everyone has questions and suicide always poses questions, so we try to provide a setting for kids to be able to ask those questions and work through that."

As for the Fajardos, we spoke to the former PTA President at Disney Elementary School, Stacie Richmond, who worked with Stephanie on the PTA and is also a neighbor.

She says the murder-suicide is a complete shock.  She described Stephanie as someone always smiling and willing to help others.  She says Stephanie lived for her kids and will be greatly missed by the PTA. 

Richmond had never met Rudolph.

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