EDGERTON, Mo. — Three-year-old twins Elijah and Arabelle Wagner drowned in a pond behind their family home Monday, despite childproofing measures taken by the family to avoid this sort of tragedy.
Now, the Wagner family is trying to deal with what they describe as unbearable grief as they remember the twins who brought so much joy into their lives.
“Nothing but memories, memories, memories,” said the twins’ grandfather, Gary Wagner, about what he has been focusing on since their death.
He became very emotional remembering one of his last memories of his granddaughter on was Sunday night, as he put her to bed.
“Laid her down and gave her a sippy cup of chocolate milk, and that was the last time I held her alive,” he recalled.
The twins lived with their father, Matt Wagner, in the Platte City home he shares with his parents. Gary said it was around 10 on Monday morning when they realized the children were missing, and several family members spread out looking for the children.
“I was the one that found her in the pond, laying face down,” said Wagner of his granddaughter. “And I let out a scream over and over or something, pulled her out and laid her down.”
As family members performed CPR, Gary noticed Arabelle’s shoes in the grass near the side of the pond. As he looked further, Gary said he saw Elijah’s boots on the dock and knew he was in the water too.
“I believe in God. I really asked him this time to provide me with a miracle,” said Wagner, but it was too late.
Now heartbreak fills the Wagner’s home, which was once full of the sound of children’s laughter.
“Elijah was daddy’s boy, he is the one who always followed daddy around,” said Melissa Folk, the twins’ Aunt. “And Arabelle, she was just a little Princess.”
The Wagners say that the twins were premature and suffered from health problems, but fought to become healthy, active toddlers.
“They were inseparable, full of life, full of love, giggles and smiles,” as Folk describes her niece and nephew.
Twins who at times lived in their own world: “They know each others language. It would be gibberish to me, but the other one, he or she understood.”
The visitation for Elijah and Arrabelle will take place on Sunday and the funeral Monday. If you would like to help the family with funeral expenses, donations can be made to the Arabelle and Elijah Wagner fund at any U.S. Bank location.