Deputies save Christmas

Valley News/Courtesy photos

Nico Melendez

Special to the Valley News

When tragedy struck Murrieta residents Thomas Roche and Susan Bush Sept. 4, the couple found hope, heroism and heartache with the passing of their 38-year-old daughter.

But at such a difficult time, they also had to find strength for their two granddaughters who had lost their dad just four years earlier.

“Our 11-year-old granddaughter called us to tell us her mom wasn’t breathing,” Bush explained. “The police arrived at just about the same time we did, and it was just a difficult scene.”

After the initial mourning, grandparents and grandchildren adapted to an unexpected new way of life and with the holidays looming they all knew it would be a difficult time.

Enter Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies from the Lake Elsinore station.

“Since our daughter lived in Wildomar, it was the Elsinore deputies who responded,” Roche said. “Those ladies and men went way out of their way to help us.”

Shortly before Christmas, the deputies, led by an officer known only as “Deputy V” made it clear he had remembered the family and the loss the granddaughters had experienced.

“The story of our granddaughters stuck with them,” Bush said about the girls losing both parents within four years.

The deputies arrived to their house, set up a Christmas tree, had bags and bags of presents and brought back the Christmas spirit. “It was the best part of our Christmas,” Bush said near tears.

“It was beautiful to know how much the sheriff’s department cared for our girls,” said Abigail Bush, sister of the deceased. “The department made sure the girls got everything on their list. They did so much for our family on our hardest hour.”

“At a time when police are villainized and underappreciated, we had to share the story,” Susan and Roche said. “They went out of their way to help us and held these little girls. They truly became heroes to all of us and it’s something we will never forget.