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'They’re both very heartbroken' | Gaston County mother of two killed by falling tree

Her family is working to raise enough money to give her the burial they say she deserves.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A boat day on Mountain Island Lake in Gaston County turned out to be deadly for 34-year-old Vanessa Owens.

Emergency crews said she was crushed and killed by a falling tree Sunday afternoon just as a severe storm passed through the area.

Her family tells WCNC Charlotte at the time of the tragic accident Owens was with her boyfriend trying to seek shelter from the storm. Unfortunately, only one of them survived.

“As soon as they touched hands a straight line of wind come through and a crack of thunder,” brother Robert Owens said. “A tree broke and fell and crushed Vanessa killing her instantly.”

Owens leaves behind two young daughters—only 11 and 7 years old. A loss her brother said is impacting both of them deeply.

“They’re both very heartbroken,” Owens said.

Now in the face of tragedy, Vanessa’s family also has to prepare to bury her without the help of any life insurance.

Instead, they are counting on fundraising through Vanessa’s online jewelry business they said quickly became her passion on top of being a mother.

“Vanessa has had her ups and downs in life,” Ownes said. “Over the past few months, she’s really grown up and started to become the mother she really wanted to be.”

If you would like to donate to Vanessa’s funeral costs any additional money will also be put towards a trust fund for her two daughters.


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