Hundreds filled the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Lyndonville to remember a woman who lived admirably, but died terribly.
"She was a good friend to a lot of people," said Greg Bryant, a friend and neighbor of Pat O'Hagan.
They came to honor O'Hagan, the feisty and vibrant grandmother Vermont State Police say was kidnapped from her Sheffield home, and found in nearby Wheelock, murdered.
"As unfortunate as it was during the time of the search, there was always the hope she was going to be found alive. I think now that that's not going to happen, the sadness is still settling in," said Rev. Pat Forman, Pat O'Hagan's priest.
At the service, a standing-room-only crowd leaned on each other for support, often crying. They remembered Pat O'Hagan as someone who loved the outdoors, loved volunteering, and cared deeply about the people of the Northeast Kingdom. They said she lived every day as if it was a gift. "She didn't waste a moment. It's really a great inspiration for people," Bryant said.
Bryant wants Vermonters to take a lesson from Pat O'Hagan: that age is just a number. She camped, kayaked, helped preserve crumbling buildings, and fed the needy at the Sheffield Food Pantry, seemingly never tiring, even at 78 years old. "You can still enjoy your life. You can still be active, and still be productive. And you can still help people," he said.
In the eulogy, O'Hagan's children wrote that they'll never understand why anyone would want to hurt their mom. Many say there's an open wound in the Kingdom that won't heal until police arrest a killer. "We're praying for the police officers, so they can continue their work and be able to discover who did this and bring them to justice," Rev. Forman said.
After the service, Pat O'Hagan was brought to the cemetery down the road from her home in Sheffield. She was laid to rest next to her late husband, Ed. Their children are keeping in mind this Irish blessing their mom loved: "May joy and peace surround you both, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and God bless you evermore."
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that helps police solve the case. They're asking the public to call them with tips at the barracks in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or the State Police Crime Information Tip Line at 802-241-5355. One particular area of interest to investigators is the Horn Road in Wheelock, where hunters found O'Hagan's body. If you saw anything suspicious on that road in the past month, police would like to hear from you.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:08:24 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>