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Victims have a place in heaven, mourners told

We are part of The Trust Project.

By Tom Weber

weber@postbulletin.com

Jesus Christ’s love of children was the theme of a funeral Saturday for three young victims of a May 23 traffic accident just south of Rochester International Airport.

Reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Rev. Norman Wahl assured mourners at Bethel Lutheran Church that Heidi Jean Newell, 19, of Rochester, her son, Carter Andrew Newell, 21⁄2, of Rochester, and Heidi’s brother, Raymond Lee Milholland, 5 weeks old, of Rochester, are, like other young people, recipients of Jesus’ attention.

"Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. It is to such as these little children that belongs the kingdom of heaven,’" Wahl said.

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"The kingdom of heaven belongs to little ones like Carter and Raymond?" Wahl asked, and then answered, "Yes. To young adults like Heidi? Yes."

The three, along with Terry Milholland, 45, of Beecher, Ill., and Jarah M. Beers, 23, of Rochester, were killed when the van in which they were riding was struck by a truck driven by Christopher Steven Frisch, 25, of Winona. Frisch has been charged with 24 felony counts, including multiple counts of vehicular homicide. The family had been at a picnic in Austin and then fishing near Albert Lea earlier in the day, and were just returning home.

The only survivor in the van driven by Terry Milholland was Rita Seha, 43, of Rochester, mother of Heidi and Raymond.

Wahl told the large crowd at the church that the deaths came at the end of a wonderful day full of family activities.

"It was a great day, with a tragic ending," he said.

Wahl said Heidi was set to graduate from Rochester Off-Campus, the charter high school, two days before the funeral.

Heidi’s son, Carter, enjoyed watching "SpongeBob SquarePants" and loved playing with balls, Wahl said. Raymond, meanwhile, was growing and developing day by day, he said.

Following the service, a line of cars drove through a steady drizzle for graveside services at Grandview Memorial Gardens.

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