MYRTLE POINT, Ore. — Family members of victims from the murder in Myrtle Point this past weekend are trying to turn the tragedy around.
Police say they believe Renae and Lola Cottam died in a house fire set by their neighbor Edward Nelson.
Renae and Lola Cottam’s son Michael says he’s been through a lot these past four years, first the loss of his wife to cancer and now the horrible death of his parents. To get through this tough time, he and his young son are working to find a way to keep the memory of the kind couple alive.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t make any sense,” said Michael Cottam.
And for some it never will.
“I called the sheriff’s department and they said hold (breaks) on they’ll transfer you and then I knew it was bad,” Cottam said.
But they’re trying.
“I’m trying to find a way to focus my attention on this fundraising for the library to turn this horrible event into something positive, not just for now but something that my son Benjamin can look back on,” Cottam said.
In this case, their son Michael Cottam is asking that instead of gifts, they want people donate to the Myrtle Point Public Library Foundation in his parents’ name. It’s something community members greatly appreciate.
“Renae was a teacher in his life, and I believe that learning, reading and education was important to both of them,” said Barbara Caffey, Library Director.
While nothing can bring the beloved couple back, those who knew them hope they will be remembered for more than just what happened to them.
“Ed Nelson burned my parents’ house to the ground, and this is almost like a phoenix from the ashes. To be able to build a library out of that, it just feels to me like it’s symbolic and positive and great for us to turn this horrible thing upside down into something good,” Cottam said.
“We always looked forward to seeing them. They always left us smiling,” Caffey said.
Over the last 10 years, the fund has collected about $150,000 but is still far from its $3 million goal. Click here to find out more about the foundation and to donate.