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'I'm proud he died with his boots on'

Family speaks to media about missionary's death

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 3:03 a.m. MDT

Kathy Young, right, pulls her husband's hand to her and kisses it after speaking to media at their home in Bountiful. (Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News) Kathy Young, right, pulls her husband's hand to her and kisses it after speaking to media at their home in Bountiful. (Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News)
BOUNTIFUL — The mother of slain missionary Elder Morgan W. Young has no qualms about sending two of her children on missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the future. It's what Morgan would want.
"We are a family in grief, but we are not a family in crisis," Kathy Young said.
Kathy Young and husband Mark Young spoke to members of the media outside their Bountiful home Friday, their first extended time with the media since returning from Virginia, where Morgan Young was killed.
Young's body arrived in Salt Lake City about 4 p.m. Friday, where it awaited transport to Russon Brothers Mortuary in Bountiful. The funeral for Morgan Young will be held at noon Tuesday at the Bountiful 31st Ward, 585 E. Center St.
Adrian Crum, left, John Richardson and Tyler Russon, at the Salt Lake airport, move the casket holding Morgan Young's body to a hearse. (Ravell Call, Deseret Morning Newsravell Call, Deseret Morning News) Adrian Crum, left, John Richardson and Tyler Russon, at the Salt Lake airport, move the casket holding Morgan Young's body to a hearse. (Ravell Call, Deseret Morning Newsravell Call, Deseret Morning News)
"We're trying to get through to the end of Tuesday," Kathy Young said.
Young, 21, and a fellow missionary, Elder Joshua Heidbrink, 19, were shot Monday after apparently witnessing a crime in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake, Va.
Heidbrink was shot first through the neck, and Young was shot in the head. He died at a local hospital about an hour before his family arrived. He was two months shy of completing his service.
James Rickey Boughton Jr., 19, was arrested Wednesday. He is charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and three counts of using a gun during the commission of those felonies.
Scott Heidbrink has said his brother reported that the two missionaries heard shots just before a man ran up to them and started firing. The gunman fled, and Heidbrink ran to a nursing home for help.
Heidbrink is now recovering at home in Greeley, Colo., his family said in a statement Friday.
"Even in their time of extreme grief, (the Youngs) expressed their concern for Joshua and helped him feel better about the loss of his good friend. Our hearts are broken for their loss," the statement said.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will speak at the funeral, as will a member of the church's First Presidency, he said.
"This was such a senseless loss in the case of Elder Young," Elder Ballard said.
The flight from Salt Lake City to Virginia was a solemn one, Kathy Young said. The family spent time remembering Morgan Young and grieving. It was time well spent.
"We were prepared for the long walk into the hospital," she said.
Morgan Young's mission president, Spencer Kirk, was at Morgan's side when he died.
During the week, the Young family visited with other missionaries in the Richmond Virginia mission and talked to some of Morgan Young's former companions.
They said he was a diligent missionary, dedicated to the message he spent nearly two years trying to share. Some missionaries recalled riding bikes with Young and turning around after 300 yards to find Young had stopped and was talking to people about his message.
"They liked him," Kathy Young said.
And he liked them, always saying positive things to his parents in his regular e-mails home, she said. He planned to extend his mission until June and he would have extended it two more years if he could.
"In many ways, Elder Young has been transferred," said Elder Ballard, referring to regular reassignments missionaries receive in their areas of service.
Both the Young family and Elder Ballard said they believe Morgan Young continues to preach his message in another sphere.
Mark Young called Heidbrink an outstanding young man as well.
"He was the one who went and got help, even though he was wounded," Mark Young said, adding that he has the utmost respect for Heidbrink.
The Youngs came back to Bountiful early Friday. As they waited for their baggage, they saw a missionary who had completed his service being greeted by family members.
"We are so happy he's home," Kathy Young said. "It was just a moment — a moment I was denied."
The Youngs refuse to believe they are now a five-member family.
"Life is eternal, and we are always a family," Kathy Young said.
As for the man who is now accused of shooting their son, the Youngs don't hold any anger.
"Just sorrow," Mark Young said. "The consequences of this are going to last some time."
"I'm proud that he died with his boots on," Kathy Young said of her son.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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