Heather was born in Oklahoma.
LaRa and Heather move to Barrington, Illinois.
Aimee was born in Chicago during the worst blizzard that area had ever seen at the time - dumping 21" of snow over the course of two days.
Heather and Aimee lived a privileged life in Barrington, Ill. They were raised with two live-in Polish nannies (one at a time).
Heather rode her bike a lot and spent most of her free time outdoors. She was a tom boy and often made mud pies and started crab apple wars. The seasons made the decisions of what fun would be had.
Aimee was younger so she spent a lot of time with the nannies and playing indoors. Yedvegia held Aimee often and the family still teases her that her feet didn't hit the ground until she was three because she was held so much.
It was the kind of life many kids would dream of having.
Then LaRa and Aimee's father split.
LaRa, Aimee, and Heather move to Ocean Springs, MS to live in Kirksey's house in Gulf Park Estates.
The brick house was four bedrooms and had an in-ground pool with a diving board and a slide. It seemed like a great place for kids.
As soon as they arrived at the new home, they had to evacuate because Hurricane Elena would arrive soon.
There wasn't even a chance for them to unpack.
Hurricane Elena hit Biloxi on the 4th of the month. Once the girls made it home, all Hell broke loose between the moving truck driver threatening to leave with their belongings and finding their home was vandalized.
START OF SCHOOL
Heather & Aimee started new schools in Mississippi at Magnolia Park in Ocean Springs. Heather entered 5th grade and Aimee entered 1st grade.
TVs were rolled to the covered area of the school as Heather and her classmates all eagerly awaited the Challenger launch. Together, we joined in on the countdown "Ten-Nine-Eight..."
Lift Off! and then,
Seventy-three seconds after lift-off, the shuttle exploded. The gasps of the teachers solidified what happened. The tv's were quickly turned off and the kids were directed back to their rooms. It was the first time that kind of emotion was experienced at school.
LaRa & Aimee's Dad were officially divorced.
November 10, 1986 LaRa was arrested on a charge of introducing contraband into Angola State Penitentiary of Louisiana. The kids didn't know about this at the time. Later, they learned that bringing the "contraband" into Angola was unintentional.
SHERRY'S WERE MURDERED
The Sherry's were murdered in their home on September 14th.
THE SHERRY'S WERE FOUND
The Sherry's were found, two days after their death in their home in Biloxi on September 16th.
It seemed so unreal.
PARK TOWN EAST
Heather and Aimee moved with their mom in Park Town East, a neighborhood located in Ocean Springs, MS. This would be the first of many moves over the next decade.
Heather and Aimee move to Linda Circle, with their mom.
It wasn't big like the Gulf Park Estates home but they loved it because it was close to town and friends.
There was a Thanksgiving there that mom invited some friends who might not have had anywhere else to go ... and even invited some people they met at the gas station. It was one of Heather's favorite Thanksgivings.
This was also where LaRa was kicking off her salsa business. The girls washed vegetables and once peeled 50lbs of carrots in the bathtub!
As the news of trouble started to spread, the girls spent a lot of time home alone while learning to handle big news spreading in a small town.
It started to feel like they were living in a bad movie and their mom was being targeted.
LaRa turned herself in to the Louisiana authorities on April 7, 1990 and served roughly ten months in jail in St. Francisville for a Louisiana state charge of wire fraud.
Shortly after she was arrested, Heather was called into the principal's office at school and was told she did not have residency and could not attend school. Furthermore, if she wasn't back in school in three weeks the state would be notified and she would become a ward of the court.
Arthur, an attorney and family friend, worked to get guardianship papers in place for both Heather and Aimee.
During this time, Heather lived with her best friend's family in Ocean Springs.
She also started working at Master Grill as it was one of the only places that would hire someone 15 years old.
Aimee lived with her best friend's family in Pascagoula. She spent the summer there and eventually moved in with another friend in Ocean Springs.
The girls were facing the first of many moves without their mother.
Aimee and Heather visited their mother in the St. Francisville jail for the first time. It was a horrible experience. The girls were not allowed to touch their mother and had to visit through glass. The ride there and back was excruciating.
It was the last time they visited their mom this way - all the other visits allowed hugging and such.
In Ocean Springs, news papers and news stations were regularly reporting the court updates relating the scam and Sherry murders.
Heather Starts 10th Grade at Ocean Springs High School.
Aimee Starts 6th Grade at Taconi Elementary School in Ocean Springs.
Their back-to-school school shopping was different than years before.
Heather and Aimee faced challenges and struggles getting back to school with their mother still not there but everyone was doing the best they could.
The Sherry Murder investigation and scam allegations made regular headlines while the girls were trying to make normal lives out of their foster situations.
Aimee has to face a challenge no kid should have to face.
Heather plays the role of a sister and a mom to help Aimee.
School became a new place of unrest for Aimee and her visits to the principals office started.
LaRa was working at the fabric shop on work release. Her extraordinary skill as a seamstress and experience in design were winning her some jobs in tailoring and special sewing projects. The Sheriff and his wife spoke highly of LaRa and her abilities.
LaRa is released and gets an apartment in St. Francisville.
She continued work at the fabric store. She even made clothes for locals and a church choir.
Aimee moved in with her mother once she had an apartment and finished 6th grade at Baines Elementary.
Heather continued school in Ocean Springs.
FEDERAL INDICTMENT #1
LaRa was indicted in May. Around the start of summer LaRa, Aimee, and Heather moved to Metarie, LA.
Heather went to Grace King High School and Aimee went to JD Meisler Middle School.
LaRa's trial was in Hattiesburg and she was gone a lot but "Mack the Bastard" lived in the Metarie apartment and kept Heather & Aimee safe.
OCTOBER - MID NOVEMBER
In the first federal trial happens.
LaRa was a defendant with Kirksey Nix, John Ransom, and Mike Gillich.
All defendants were found guilty but not all on the same charges.
END OF THE YEAR
Sometime after the guilty verdict was handed down, Heather and Aimee moved back to Ocean Springs.
Heather got her job back at Master Grill and Heather and Aimee moved into an apartment Heather got with J.
Shortly after that, it was suggested J and Heather get married so Heather could continue to go to school legally.
Heather gets married.
Sentencing was on March 12th for LaRa, Kirksey, and Mr. Mike.
Heather spoke in court to the judge asking for her mother to be placed in Florida so she could go visit. It was an terrifying experience for her - but worth it.
LaRa was sentenced to one year and one week for her participation in the wire fraud scams.
Mike Gillich and Kirksey McCord Nix Jr. were both sentenced for wire fraud and conspiracy in a murder-for-hire plot to kill the Sherry's and they both received 15 years in prison. Mr. Mike was also fined $100k.
John Elbert Ransom is sentenced a week later. He received 10 years for his role in the murder-for-hire scheme.
Lara turned herself in to begin her sentence in Marianna, FL.
Heather and Aimee finish the school year in Ocean Springs.
The girls have a hard time getting along with each other because Heather was trying to act like a mom and Aimee didn't want to listen to her 3 1/2 year older sister.
Summer was coming and Aimee was headed to spend it with her Dad. At this point her father was not aware of what was in the news. No official ever officially reached out in regards to custody and welfare.
While Heather worked graveyard shifts to pay bills (at 17 yrs old), Aimee (at 13 years old) was sent to live with Granny, in Moffat, CO.
Heather Starts school in Ocean Springs, married and pregnant her Senior year. She faces the challenges of young marriage and pregnancy while attending school and working to pay bills. The pressures mount and the marriage was on the rocks. Divorce was not an option as Mississippi would not grant a divorce to a pregnant woman unless there was proof of abuse or abandonment.
Aimee starts school in a new state and new home. The small valley town of Moffat, Colorado had a total of 48 inhabitable homes and the nearest gas station sat 16 miles outside of town. Another culture shock and change. The adjustment was tough and Aimee would be again in the principals office.
Heather gives birth while her mother is in a halfway house in Mobile.
LaRa had pre-approval to go to the birth but when Heather went into labor, LaRa was informed she would not be able to travel to Mississippi because it was out of state. This was heart breaking for both of them.
A few days later, LaRa was granted time to visit her new grandson and Heather.
LaRa and Aimee are living in Mobile, AL
Heather is in Ocean Springs. In May, Heather left her husband and eventually bought 1969 Tiffany single-wide trailer. This trailer was sold to her by a kind customer she knew from Master Grill. He sold it to her for $2000 and let her make $200 payments until it was paid and did not charge her a lot rent until the trailer was paid for. The trailer had holes in the floor and the gas company would not hook gas to the fire place but it was hers and she LOVED it. This was hers because of the kindness of a sweet old man who just wanted to help.
In 1993, Heather started seeing the man who would eventually become her 2nd husband. The beginning of the relationship was exciting ... and completely screwed up.
She also dropped out of school.
Aimee began 10th grade at Ocean Springs High School but eventually moved to Colorado Springs to be with LaRa.
Heather's divorce was final.
Heather worked at Bombay Bicycle Club during the day as a waitress and at night as cocktail waitress. Her son spent a lot of time in day care and with sitters and grandparents.
Aimee moved to Florida to live with her dad and attend 11th grade.
Heather and her best friend, Becky, obtained their GED's through a program at Keesler Air Force Base called the YES program.
Heather started attending community college and was back working at Master Grill. At this point, she and her son were living with the man she fell madly in love with.