Tearful DeSoto mother expresses gratitude for prayers after arson fire kills 3 sons

ARCADIA, Fla. (WFLA)—She fought back tears during a bittersweet moment. For this mother, it was difficult to express both gratitude and grief as she faces an immeasurable sorrow in her life—the loss of her three precious little boys.

For the first time since this tragedy on March 11th, this mom is now meeting with members of the community face-to-face. A long line of well-wishers held her in their arms at Calvary Baptist Church on Monday afternoon in a moment of prayer and fellowship. The close-knit town of Arcadia has wrapped it’s arms around her during this time of grief. “I go into my apartment and it’s so quiet, I don’t hear the words mama. It’s very difficult,” Kenya Blandin cried. “It’s so quiet without them.”

Indeed, she has gone through something no parent should ever have to face, burying her own babies. It was an unthinkable crime with the tiniest of victims. The lives of three innocent children taken away in a heartbeat.

Her little boys were trapped in a home that was set on fire intentionally, police say. The boys were staying with their grandfather to help to babysit while their mother worked. Inside the home that night were ten-year-old Marcus Clark, along with his eight-year-old brother Kiani and four-year-old brother Kemaren. All three died in the fire, leaving their mother and so many others heartbroken. The grandfather’s ex girlfriend, 49-year-old Marian Williams, is accused of selling the fire and now faces three counts of first degree murder.

During this time of grief, the family is also uplifted, they tell WFLA, by prayers and support from all over DeSoto County and beyond. In the last week alone, nearly $20,000 has been raised to help lay the children to rest. Their wake is scheduled for this Friday. “They’re doing all they can for my boys, doing so much for them. I just want to think so many people,” said Kenya, tears streaming down her face.

The boys’ cousin, Bruce Blandin, Jr., also attended the fellowship Monday at Calvary Baptist Church. He tried desperately to get the boys out during the fire. He was able to save the grandfather who, for the first time, was able to go out into the community following a painful recovery from a burn injury.

Bruce admits that he can’t even look at the house anymore, knowing what happened there. He spoke about hearing the boys crying, their voices yelling out in a time of sheer terror. “We are leaning on each other. It’s difficult to put into words, to describe it,” he said.

He, too, is uplifted by prayers in the community of Arcadia. He told WFLA, “I promise that there’s no community that has come together like this one, like De Soto has. No race, no color, no creed. As a family, we want to thank everybody near and far.”

 

 

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