Community Gathers to Remember Teen Siblings Killed on School Commute

Posted at 9:16 PM, Dec 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-03 22:39:04-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Students at Heritage Christian Academy were pulled out of class and sent home early Tuesday after the tragic news that sibling classmates had died in a crash on their way to school.

Tuesday night, many of those students and their church community came to Calvary Bible Church to pray and mourn the loss of Anneka Vels, 17, and her 13-year-old brother Landon.

The teenagers’ parents say they want their children to be remembered as children of strong faith.

“Anneka was a very lovely girl, she had a great voice and talent in different areas,” Alyssa Muller, a friend of the Vels, said.

Muller said it’s a blessing to have that comfort to know they’re in a better place but that it’s also very difficult to deal with the aftermath.

Friends say Landon was goofy and loved playing computer games, but also loved the outdoors.

The entire Vels’ family is very involved in the church.  Youth Pastor Justin McCoy says they were a model family and “about as plugged in as you could be.”

Those close to the Vels family tell us it’s not the devastation and heartbreak they feel now they want to remember.  They want to remember the spirit of their two vibrant friends.

No funeral arrangements have been made for Anneka or Landon Vels yet.  Heritage Christian Academy will be open Wednesday with grief counselors made available for students.