Houston Tyler McDaniel
June 1, 1998 – August 29, 2005
Hunter Riley McDaniel
October 2, 2000 – August 29, 2005
Houston & Hunter’s Story
Houston was born on June 1, 1998. He was our surprise from God. Houston was a very energetic child from birth. He was walking on his own at 8 months old. He had one speed, super fast. He was very independent, and loved to work. He was my little man! He loved being big brother from the time that Hunter was born. We figured out that Houston was bipolar when he was 5-years-old. Houston’s hobbies were motorcycles, go-carts, working with his dad and papa, playing baseball, football, fishing, and he loved to just help.
Hunter was born on October 2, 2005. He was my cuddle bug! He loved to be held and loved on. He was also my lazy one, he liked to just sit and watch TV. He had two speeds, slow and slower. He looked at Houston for everything. Being the normal big brother, Houston, figured out that he would tell Hunter to get things they weren’t supposed to have and he wouldn’t get into trouble because “Hunter did it, not me.” Hunter’s hobbies were watching TV, playing with Houston, fishing, and just being loveable.
They were inseparable. They did everything together and they took up for each other all the time. They were our life. Our world revolved around our children, and it still does. We have another son who was 1-year-old at the time of Houston and Hunters death.
We (Paul and Lacie) are their mom and dad. Paul works hard running his own business and being a wonderful father. I am a stay at home mother and have been ever since Houston was born. I have always loved it. Our youngest son is Hayden, he was 1-year-old when we lost Houston & Hunter and our daughter Brittainy was 14-years-old.
Our lives were devastated on August 28, 2005. Paul had gone to work that day and it was just me and the kids at home. Houston and Hunter had gotten up before me. Paul always left our bedroom door open in the morning when he left so I could hear when the boys got up. They had figured out if they shut our door very quietly they could help themselves to whatever was in the kitchen and I wouldn’t hear them if they were quiet.
So, that morning they had shut my door. When I got up they had gone through everything in the kitchen eating anything with sugar. They had a whole box of cereal dumped over their room and food hidden under the bed. I had gotten on to them and sent them outside to play while I cleaned it all up.
We live on 5 acres in the country. My parents live on the 7 acres next to us and our neighbors on the other side we have known for 20 years. So, there was no problem sending them out to play because everyone watched them. We would call each other and let one another know where they were.
My dad had been off work for the last 3 months, so it had become natural for them to run over there and play with him for several hours. I checked on them several times while they were playing in the yard that day. Then, about 30 minutes went by and I realized I did not see them or hear them playing. I figured they went to play with my dad. Another 30 minutes went by and I decided I needed to call over there and have them come home for lunch. So, I called.
My mother answered and she said the boys weren’t there and reminded me that my dad had gone to work with Paul and she had been at church. She had just gotten home. We quickly began looking for them. My mom, Brittainy, my brother and his girlfriend, and all four of our neighbors were looking for them. We looked everywhere and could not find them.
I called Paul and told him that we couldn’t find them. He started naming off places to look. One of the places he named was the trunk of the car. If he hadn’t said it, I would have never thought to look there. I was horrified, that is where I found them.
My car was always locked and the keys were on our entertainment center. The keys had a remote lock and Houston had unlocked the car from inside the house and put the keys back so I wouldn’t know. He had opened the trunk with the button on the inside of the car.
My car did not have a trunk release inside the trunk. Houston tore all the wires out of the trunk trying to figure out how to get out.
They flew Hunter to one hospital and Paul was on his way there to be with him. Houston went by ambulance to another hospital, I rode with him. A couple of hours later they transferred Houston to the same hospital as Hunter. We were terrified. The next day, which seemed like a week, they both passed away, just one month before Hunter turned five. They were both gone. We couldn’t believe they were gone….
After all this had happened we learned that there was a latch in the trunk that could be switched turning off the button to the trunk so the only way to open the trunk would be with the key. If we had known this it would have been switched. We have also learned that there is an after market release that can be installed in the trunk, so if anyone is trapped they can escape from the inside. It is very cheap and well worth the life of your child.
A Trunk Release Kit can be purchased on the KidsAndCars.org website for only $14.99. Simply go to the website (www.KidsAndCars.org) and click on the “Education” tab to order one.
Houston and Hunter, you will be greatly missed and loved everyday!
– Mom, Dad, & baby bro Hayden