Unimaginable Loss: One Year Later Mother Reflects on Murder/Suicide

by Greg Funderburg - bio | e-mail

Indianapolis, IN (WTVM) - Losing a loved one is hard enough -- so how does one deal with the death of four family members, all at the same time, and the result of a violent murder suicide?  It was a year ago that Agena Battle arrived at her home off Buena Vista Road in Columbus to find her now 7-year-old son asleep, but her two-year-old twin girls, three-year-old son, and her fiancée were missing.

After nearly two weeks and a nationwide Amber Alert, their lifeless bodies were found in Columbus.  "I was driving down Manchester Expressway and I got a phone call, they were like can you pull in somewhere.  It was as obvious, they found them.  They didn't have to say much," said Battle.

Agena Battle got a phone call from the FBI that the bodies of her 2-year-old twins Agena and Aleeyah, 3-year-old Sedrick and fiancé, Eddie Herrington had all been found. All were dead.  It was a tragic, unimaginable ending to two weeks of hoping and praying.

Agena says she came home from work on March 4, 2008.  Her 7-year-old son Tarik was asleep in bed.

But where was her fiancé and their children?  She spotted a letter that Eddie left on the dresser.  "I screamed and didn't read it.  I already knew it," said Battle.

She immediately called police and then decided to read what Eddie had written.  "He basically said he pretty much didn't want to go on and he couldn't do this.  He didn't want to leave the kids behind with me to struggle.  He also told me he was sorry," said Battle.

A search started immediately for Eddie and the children. Flyers and billboards were posted in her neighborhood and nationwide.   Hours and days went by as Agena tried to hold onto the little faith she had while getting daily briefings from investigators.  "They told me basically the same story.  There was a citing and nothing concrete.   It was the same story day by day," said Battle.

Two weeks later, March 19th, she got the news no one expected.  "I was on my way to a place in Georgia where they were going to offer an award for information," said Battle.  She then got a phone call.  It was the FBI.  "They asked me where I was at," said Battle.

She quickly met the FBI agents and her life changed forever.  "They got me out of the car.  I was at my Moms and they calmed me down," said Battle.

Her children and her fiancé were found dead off Chattsworth Road in Columbus.  "I wanted to die.  I wanted answers.  I wanted to know why," Battle said.

Investigators told her it appeared Eddie shot the kids in the head, and then turned the gun on himself.  "I was angry, mad, and I wanted to hate him so much but I couldn't," said Battle.

Agena says she prayed and realized she couldn't hate him because it wasn't of God to judge someone.  She wanted to make sure not only her kids, but the man she loved got a proper farewell.  "So when I walked in the actual ceremony, I was thankful people could see the person he really was and not this man who killed his kids," said Battle.

A few months later, in August, Agena decided to leave Columbus and move to Indianapolis. She's still not quite settled in and she's struggling to settle the memories of her past.  Battle told us:  "I can't put into words, but it's been stressful.  There has been a lot of memories.   I am still un-packing them today.".

Agena says she's thankful for her 7-year-old son, Tarik.  She spends most days playing with him, working, and going to school to pursue a career in pharmacy.  "He misses them and still says he wants to be with them.  I just let him know that I need him here," said Battle.

Agena says, over the last year, it feels like her family has grown to include the entire city of Columbus.

People still pray for the Battle family and reach across the miles with touching acts of kindness.

"They're still texting, e-mailing, and writing me.  I still get letters from so many people.  There is no way I could have got this far without them," said Battle.

Agena Battle also wants to clarify some rumors.  She tells News Leader Nine after the discovery of the kids some people assumed she had provoked her fiancée into killing their kids.  Agena tells us this just isn't true and it still upsets her that people feel that way.

Agena also said she does want to have kids again someday and has purchased her own home in Indianapolis, IN.  This is the same city where Eddie Herrington's family now lives.  She says they talk all the time.