Laurel shooting victim lives on through organ donation

Laurel shooting victim lives on through organ donation

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The mother of a woman shot earlier this month in the Windermere Subdivision is still looking for answers about what led to her daughter's death but finds comfort knowing she lives on in others.

Madeline Herrington remembers her 23-year-old daughter Katherine Sinclair as a person who cared for others more than herself. The Meridian Community College student was studying to become a nurse, and she loved animals, especially her dog Duke, fishing and the outdoors.

"She loved to help people," Herrington said. "She just loved life. She loved to laugh. She never said anything bad about anybody. I've always been proud of her. I knew she was an amazing woman. She was an amazing child, and I knew she was going to be an amazing person."

Laurel Police officers and paramedics found Sinclair inside of a car with a single gunshot wound to the head at her boyfriend's home on Windermere Boulevard on June 1.

Herrington said Sinclair was like a mother to her 13-year-old brother Dawson, and "her daddy's baby." Friends from four states came to her funeral.

"She had so many friends," Herrington said. "Like at the funeral, I mean, I didn't even know these children."

Life since June 1 has been "a nightmare," Herrington said, and with the details surrounding her daughter's death still unclear, she wants answers.

"I feel like I don't know what to do," Herrington said crying. "I've talked to the preacher. I've talked to my friends, but I want to talk to my child. I didn't think I wanted to see her in the casket, but my husband told me that he thought it might be best if I do look at her because the last time I saw her when she was in the hospital, she looked like a monster. I mean, it was horrible, so I decided to see her. I just wanted to tell her to get up, to talk to me, to get up. This is something horrible, and I want justice. I want the truth. My baby will not die in vain."

In her heart, Herrington said she knows her daughter wouldn't take her own life.

"I know she didn't commit suicide," Herrington said. "I mean, I know that. When I got the phone call that night, that's the first thing I said. 'No she didn't.' She would have never done that. She loved life"

Jones County District Attorney Tony Buckley said the investigation into Sinclair's death is ongoing, but he needs autopsy and evidence results from three state crime laboratories before he can make any determination about how she died or if charges should be filed.

"The position of the District Attorney's Office is rather like a surgeon that's requested blood tests, scopes and X-rays," Buckley said. "He can't perform surgery until he's got those. I can't make the decision of whether any charges, if any, would be given unless and until I get all those scientific pieces of evidence reports in writing on my desk."

While she waits for results, Herrington said only peace she can find is knowing her daughter gave life to others as an organ donor.

"We donated all her organs except for her eyes, her skin and her bones," Herrington said. "That's the only comfort I can get. I know that she would be proud to know that she helped other people."

One of Sinclair's organ recipients is Herrington's long-time Stonewall neighbor. He had been on dialysis for 14 years, and Herrington asked that Sinclair's kidney go to him, if it was a match.

"When the surgeon came out, she said it was a perfect match, and it was such a perfect kidney," Herrington said. "She didn't even know that that was my daughter's."

Herrington said knowing Sinclair's death is justified, knowing she gave life to others and knowing she didn't die in vain will help her move past this tragedy.

"I couldn't have asked for a better person to be my daughter, to be one of my best friends," Herrington said. "I just really wanted to see her graduate college and get married and to have grandkids, and now that's taken from me."