The quick wit of 22-year-old Amy Gibbins and the energetic intelligence of 5-year-old Bryor Gibbins will remain in the hearts of a Calumet family.
The family was part of more than 30 attendees who had the chance to share their stories Monday at the 29th Canadian County Crime Victims’ Vigil at the courthouse.
“Our lives were forever changed in that horrible moment,” said mother Terri Heinley. “But what we can control is how we survive. Not if we will but that we are compelled to do so. It is my belief that life is a gift from God and so we move forward.”
Amy and Bryor Gibbins, Heinley’s daughter and grandson, were murdered in 2013.
“If you’re in the pit of despair, understand that Jesus is inclined to meet you there,” Heinley said.
She encouraged attendees to pray through the midst of the storm.
“Amy was a wonderful mother,” Heinley said. “She was very determined and focused on giving Bryor a life full of experiences, full of love and instilling the love of Jesus in Bryor’s life.”
Amy Gibbins was the youngest of Heinley’s three daughters.
“I encourage you to talk about your memories and it keeps those loved ones alive in your heart,” she said.
Heinley spent the prior day with Amy and Bryor — playing outside, going to the movies, shopping for a Father’s Day gift and participating in a craft.
“I thank God for that day,” she said. “I think he gave it to me.”
The next day, Amy’s home was engulfed in flames, Heinley said. After a local banker discovered strange activity on Amy’s debit card, a collaborative investigation began between the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Derek Posey, a Tulsa oil field worker, was sentenced to death six years later for two counts of first-degree murder and one count of debit card theft.
After Heinley and Amy’s mother-in-law Anita Gibbins gave the keynote address at the vigil, two attendees spoke about persevering to survive.
They also commended the District Attorney’s Office, who never left their side.
The vigil is hosted during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 18-24).
“This is our opportunity to celebrate progress, raise awareness of victims’ rights and services and to stand with our friends, families and neighbors, whose lives have been changed forever by crime,” said District Attorney Mike Fields.
Last year, at least 1.2 million people were violent crime victims, he said.
The vigil’s theme this year is “support victims, build trust and engage communities.”
“We gather together to recognize and acknowledge and encourage and to offer hope — to offer hope to those among us who have been left to pick up the pieces left by someone else’s destruction,” Fields said.
In more speaker news, Canadian County commissioner Jack Stewart read the proclamation of Crime Victims’ Rights Week in the county to attendees. The proclamation was made official at the Monday morning commissioners’ meeting.
For the first time, Cardinal Point, which is Canadian County’s Family Justice Center, was also among the 12 sponsoring agencies.