Hundreds attend Iszabella Morgan funeralPriest: 'This was not the way it was supposed to be'
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
Only the ringing notes of a church piano broke the somber silence Thursday morning inside Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell as hundreds gathered to say their final goodbyes to 9-year-old Iszabella Jean “Bella” Morgan.
“This was not the way it was supposed to be,” the Rev. Larry Regynski said during the service’s eulogy. “If any of us could bring Bella back, we would.”
Morgan died Saturday after the vehicle she was in was hit near the intersection of First Avenue and Duff Street in Mitchell by a car driven by 46-year-old Michael Sedlmeier, of Mitchell. Authorities allege Sedlmeier was fleeing from the police and driving drunk.
A parade of mourners led by Morgan’s parents, Jeanie Morgan and Ryan Anderson, and brother, Spencer Morgan, followed Morgan’s casket as it entered the church shortly after 11 a.m. Those following the casket filled the remaining open seats in the already crowded church.
As they entered, those already seated sang “This Little Light of Mine,” just as another crowd had done Tuesday during a candlelight vigil near the scene of the fatal crash.
Will Funeral Chapel estimated as many as 700 people attended the funeral.
“Give us back that beautiful smile, let her dance again,” Regynski said.
Morgan was a member of the Linda Feterl School of Dance. Many from that group, as well as many of her third-grade classmates from Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, were in attendance.
Before taking his seat for the service, Morgan’s brother, Spencer, placed a daily devotional book that had belonged to his sister on the casket.
Regynski told those in attendance that on the day of the crash, the family had found Morgan’s devotional book open to a page with a prayer that read “give me an open mind to understand the future plans you have for me.”
“We’re going to need a lot of love these next few days and months,” Regynski said near the conclusion of his eulogy.
As the service concluded, immediate family once again followed close behind Morgan’s casket, with her tearful mother supported on both sides by those close by as they exited the church.
After the funeral service, family and friends traveled to Calvary Cemetery for the burial.
Sedlmeier, the man arrested in connection with the fatal crash, is charged with vehicular homicide, third-offense drunken driving, hit-and-run causing injury or death, reckless driving, aggravated eluding and six counts of vehicular battery.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.