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Candlelight vigil remembers mother and son two years after their murders

More than 100 people honor Maggie and Amos Meyer

More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil Oct. 19 that marked the second anniversary of the unsolved murders of Byron resident Margaret “Maggie” Meyer and her 3-year-old son Amos.

Luminaries, made by Maggie’s students at the Chana Education Center, lined the sidewalks at the Ogle County Courthouse where friends and family gathered to pray and remember the two, as well as bring awareness to the ongoing investigation.

Among those attending were Maggie’s parents, Donald and Luann Rosko, of Mt. Morris.

Maggie’s friend and colleague Lynn Kalnins, assistant principal at the Chana Education Center, said students and staff held a time of remembrance earlier in the day.

The students purposely made colorful luminaries to remember the two.

“They wanted there to be color in them because they didn’t think it was right for people who brought such color and joy to the lives of others to have just plain white luminaries,” she said.

“It’s no surprise that this is a day that many of us at the Chana Education Center dread,” Kalnins said. “Two years ago I had to look into the faces of my co-workers and students…and I had to say some words I never want to ever have to speak of again. I don’t like to revisit that day mentally so therefore I’m going to share with you some things that happened today at our school. I’d like to share what she meant to them.”

She went on to read messages from Maggie’s students and co-workers.

“Ms. Meyer was something special,” wrote one student. “She was someone I could go to no matter what. She was our school mom.”

“When Ms. Meyer and I met I didn’t think I would like her,” another wrote. “I thought she was being tough on me. What I soon realized that when she was being tough, it was not to be mean, but to challenge me to be better.”

“Everyone she met she impacted,” wrote a colleague. “I have never seen one woman change so many people’s lives. She genuinely cared.”

Christopher Pearce, a close friend, was tearful as he addressed the crowd.

“Tonight we gather as a community to remember the two most beautiful people, mother and son, Maggie and Amos,” he said, before reading a Hebrew poem adapted for the occasion.

His mother Katherine Pearce said Maggie inspired others.

“Her motto was for us all to be our best. She instilled that in her students, be your best, do your best and make the world a better place,” she said. “If each of us lives into that for Maggie and Amos their love and their lives will continue…their spirits are with us.”

Kalnins summed up, “Together we continue to hope and to pray that the individuals who took them away from us will not go unpunished.”

Emergency crews arrived the Meyer home at 2020 N. Silverthorn Drive just after 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2016 to find the house consumed by a fire that was determined to be deliberately set.

Maggie, 31, was found dead on a couch on the first floor of her burning home, and Amos was pronounced dead a short time later at Rockford Memorial Hospital.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department, Byron Police Department, Illinois State Police, and the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s office, are actively investigating the case and are optimistic that it will be solved.

“We’re confident we’re going to come to a resolution for the family and friends,” State’s Attorney Eric Morrow said recently. 

Sheriff Brian VanVickle asked anyone with information about the crime to call his office at 815-732-2136 or Ogle Lee Crime Stoppers at 888-228-4488. 

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