LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) — On Wednesday in Lowellville, 55-year-old Deborah Hudak and her daughter, 25-year-old Cathryn Hudak, were fatally shot in a home on Watson Street. On Sunday night, their community honored and remembered them with a candlelight vigil.
They were shot by 38-year-old Jonathan Crago of Girard, who had a relationship with at least one of the victims. Crago shot and killed himself later that night after leading police officers in Parma on a chase that prompted a shelter in place alert.
About 200 people paid their respects and people who knew Debbie and her daughter described them as kind and generous people.
“You know the saying ‘Give you the shirt off their back?’ They would give you the shirt and then look for a pair of pants,” said Deborah’s daughter and Cathryn’s sister Brittany Hudak.
“Debbie loved working with people with developmental disabilities, she did that through most of her adult life,” said Deborah’s brother Roy Pratt.
During the vigil, Pratt — who was also Cathryn’s uncle — told stories about the mother-daughter duo finding and taking in homeless animals.
“Have a passion for taking in the strays, the old dogs, the sick dogs, the injured cats and she would find them and get them all taken care of with the vets,” Pratt said.
Brittany Hudak said her sister was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend before the shooting.
“The threats that I saw come in. ‘If you don’t do this you’ll see what happens. If you don’t do this, you’ll see the results.’ Nothing you could say is a direct threat as to, ‘I’m going to take your life,’ however, anybody can read that and interpret something bad might happen,” Brittany said.
She said once Cathryn broke up with her ex — that’s when he began showing up at places he knew she would be. Now, she wants to see stricter punishments for people who commit domestic violence.
“She knew to call the police, she knew to report it,” Brittany said. “The problem comes when those individuals set the guidelines for how this crime can be punished. How do we punish menacing? How do we punish stalking? How do we punish domestic violence? You put somebody on probation — they’re out. They can still contact this person.”
From this personal tragedy, Brittany wants others to know if someone is threatening you or a loved one to take that threat seriously and report it to the police.