Woman Shares Story Behind Photo Of OKC Bombing Victim's Grandbaby

Friday, April 18th 2014, 9:01 am
By: News 9

Hundreds are expected downtown on Saturday for the 19th Remembrance Ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Brittany Montoya comes here not just on April 19. She also comes here during many other milestones in her life.

It's her way of keeping her mother close. But one photograph turned what Montoya hoped to be a private tribute public.

It's playtime for Carter and Cohen, but parents Brittany and Russell Montoya still try to fit in a family lesson. Planted in the backyard is a tree sapling from the Survivor's Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Montoya always finds a way to keep her mother's spirit alive. She was only 10 years old when Karan Shepard died in the Murrah Building on April 19, 1995.

But 19 years later, Montoya worries an important message is getting lost.

"You learn 168 people. It's really important to me that they learn those were actual people," Montoya said.

What may put her mind at ease is the reaction to a photo. Montoya gave Newcastle photographer Autumn Moore permission to share Cohen's newborn pictures on Facebook. More than 4,200 people shared it or left comments.

"They're sentimental and special to me. It's hard to put them out there for others to see. Now that they're out there and people have seen them, I hope they say that was a person," said Montoya. "They were mothers and sisters, and she should've been a grandmother."

From her wedding day to the birth of her first child, Montoya hopes by sharing these very private moments, another important life lesson can be learned.

"Don't let tragedy or a loss define the rest of your life, because that's not what the person that you loved would want you to do. It's not what my mom would want me to do. She'd want me to be happy," Montoya said.

Montoya and her family will be there every April 19, not just for the remembrance ceremony, but Autumn Moore photography will take their family pictures every year next to Karan's chair.