GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids family is in mourning after they say their daughter and her five children died this weekend.
On Sunday, family identified Grand Rapids native Natisha Moffett, 35, and her five children, Jo’Syia Moffett, 17, Giovanni Thomas-Blakney, 16, Santari Witherspoon, 16, Malik Thomas-Blakney Jr., 8, and Makayla Thomas-Blakney, 5, as the victims killed in a crash involving a semi-truck about an hour west of Phoenix.
“I miss them already,” said Malik Thomas-Blakney, Natisha’s husband and father of three of the children. “[They] taught me unconditional love… No matter what you go through in life, no matter what, family is first.”
“An angel, a flower, just beautiful,” said Ynes Morrow, when describing her daughter, Natisha. “A beautiful person inside and out.”
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 1:21 p.m. on Friday, a tractor trailer rear-ended a car, which family claimed was Natisha’s, splitting it in half. Police say the truck the continued on and hit a SUV and seriously injured a second woman and her four children.
Family identified that driver as Natisha’s best friend, who also grew up in West Michigan and convinced Natisha to move to Arizona in recent years to practice cosmetology. The friend and her kids are still in the hospital.
“Her and her friend took all of their kids to San Diego to go and celebrate the Fourth of July and for it to end like that is something out of a movie,” said Satin Abernathy, Natisha’s sister. “It’s not real.”
The children, ages five to 17, are described as smart, charismatic, and loving. Makayla was a recent pre-kindergarten graduate and Jo’Syia recently started his first job.
“I gotta bring my babies back, six of them,” said Morrow. “I gotta bring them home. They need to be home.”
The family is now trying to focus their sorrows on bringing everyone back to Grand Rapids. A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the expenses.
“Love your family, love your kids, love your spouses while they’re here because they all were too young to go,” said Abernathy.
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