NEWTON FALLS - Rickey Cogley recognized the gold cross and chain wrapped around his granddaughter's neck almost immediately.
It was the same cross and chain that his son, Rikki Cogley Sr., always wore.
"My dad was wearing it when he died and I've been wearing it ever since," 17-year-old Kayla Cogley said. "I don't plan to ever take it off."
Kayla Cogley, 17, Warren, right, the oldest child of shooting victim Rikki Cogley Sr., is comforted by her fiance, Jacob Mechling, 18, during a benefit to help her family Wednesday in Newton Falls.
Kayla, the oldest of Rikki's four children, held the cross tightly most of Wednesday evening during a benefit at the Newton Falls Community Center.
Village residents organized the communitywide fundraiser to help Kayla and other family members of four homicide victims shot in their Newton Falls homes Friday.
The money is to be used to help defray funeral costs and assist the surviving children, the Rev. Werner Lange, one of the event's organizers, said.
Lange, former pastor at Auburn Community Church in Geauga County, has lived in Newton Falls about 24 years. Lange said he doesn't recall "there having ever been such a tragedy" in the village.
"I live about 300 yards from where the murders took place," he said. "This has shaken this community. But the theme here tonight is that light, as it says in the Book of John in the Bible, light shines in the darkness and the dark cannot overcome it. That's what this is about, shining some light to overcome the darkness that came over us last Friday."
Authorities believe that Rob Brazzon, 55, killed his live-in girlfriend, Tracey Engler, 38, ex-brother-in-law, Rikki Cogley Sr., Cogley's wife, Kathy, and her son, 15-year-old Everett Greathouse, before turning his gun on himself last Friday afternoon. Police said the case, including the motive for the killings, remains under investigation.
Kayla, of Warren, said rumors have swirled around the family since the shooting. Still, she said she doesn't believe speculation that her father and Engler had been having an affair or that her father and Brazzon were fighting over Engler.
"I don't believe that for one minute," she said. "A lot of things have been said. I don't know why he (Brazzon) did what he did. I have a lot of questions no one can answer. I just know that I miss my dad."
Her mother, Valerie Keller of Warren, said the family may never know Brazzon's reasons.
"We've heard the same rumors everyone is hearing," she said. "We've heard it was Rob's medication. He always had a temper and he was the kind of guy you thought might go off one day. But I don't think any of us expected this. Stories keep changing and rumors keep going around. But they're just rumors. We don't know anything for sure."
Rickey Cogley also said Brazzon "had always had a hot temper" and recently had learned he was seriously ill.
"It was nothing for him to say he was going to go out and that he'd have no problem taking everyone with him," the Warren man said of his former son-in-law. "You never knew what to expect from him, but to do something like this... It's just senseless. I just can't understand it."
When the benefit began Wednesday evening, at least 300 people moved through the community center within the first 30 minutes. The event featured a Chinese auction, a raffle and music by David and Julie Lemon Ministries and the Ravenna-based band So Be It. Food and various items were available for purchase.
"It's so difficult to see a tragedy like this," said Rick Kerlin, a.k.a. Newton Falls' Santa. "All we can do is to reach out and do what we can for the families, especially the children, to show the love of the Lord because without that we have nothing. We need to be here, as a community, for each other. That's exactly what tonight is about and as you look around, it's exactly what's happening."
Kathy Cogley's mother, Janet Greathouse, who also attended the benefit, declined to comment except to quietly say that she wasn't ready to talk about it.
Meanwhile, four torches remained at the East River Gardens Playground, which is almost directly between the two residences where the killings took place. Lange said the torches have been lit evert night since the killings.
Two candlelight vigils, one Friday night and the other Sunday night, were held along with a special Sunday morning worship service in memory of the victims.
Additionally, a benefit fund for the victims, the Falls Four Family Fund, has been set up and contributions to that effort may be made at any Huntington Bank location.
Kayla said although she is overwhelmed by the circumstances she and her family are thankful for the support they've received.
"I talked to my dad every day," she said. "Two weeks ago, he told me he approved of my boyfriend and that he liked him and that it would be OK for me to marry him. He was suppose to walk me down the aisle next year. Everything has changed. My dad's gone and nobody can tell me why.
''He's gone, they're all gone. Rob's gone. None of them can answer any of our questions and that's just really, really hard."