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Family says coping with James and Michelle Butler's murders difficult at this time of year

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 19:43:24-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Action 10 News was first to report on James and Michelle Butler, the missing New Hampshire couple, whose remains were found in a shallow grave on Padre Island. Two suspects, Adam Curtis Williams and Amanda Noverr, were arrested in Mexico after they were seen driving the Butler's stolen truck. Today, we heard from James Butler's sister about how the family has been coping.

Deborah van Loon says at this moment the family is doing the best they can, "Little things trigger tears, it's hard."

Van Loon's cousin came to Corpus Christi last week to represent the family, thank the community and take care of any unfinished business.

"We did receive their ashes finally at the end of last week and so we are now in the process of getting arrangements made for a service and a celebration of life," Van Loon explained,"But I also plan on doing a full military service for him in the Spring at the Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, New Hampshire."

Van Loon recently updated the family's GoFundMe page which currently has a little over $13,000.

"Any help is greatly appreciated as we find things that need to be paid for," the update read. "God bless you all and thank you so very much."

She said they want that option to be at the trial and without the fundraiser they could not do it otherwise.

"We are finding that there are some expenses we are going to have to pay for," she said. "We are just trying to figure it all out. For the trial, if any of us want to be able to travel down there to be at the trial."

She says she hasn't received any word on when the trial will begin.

"I know there is a certain amount of days until they run out of time for being able to press the murder charges," she said. "So, we are just hoping that something happens within that time frame."

Van Loon wrote both James and Michelle individual poems and had her cousin take them to their memorial site at the beach.

It's just telling them how much we love them and miss them, she said.

She said the family plans to get together for the holidays.

"It's definitely been really hard to get into the spirit of Christmas," she said.

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