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Hmong community holds vigil to honor Vadnais Lake victims, surviving family sends message to community

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. — The Hmong community came together Saturday night to honor the memory of a family with a tragic end. Dozens brought flowers and lit candles for the three children and their parents who all died a week ago on July 1.

The father, 27-year-old Yee Lee, died by suicide. The mother, 23-year-old Molly Cheng, drowned her three children and herself in Vadnais Lake.

Through an interpreter, Cheng’s father shared his emotional struggles over losing his daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren, 5-year-old Phoenix, 4-year-old Quadrillion, and 3-year-old Estella.

“My grandchildren have always lifted me up until this point, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m heart stricken, and I hurt so much that I do not know what to say to the community,” Chong Cheng said.

The lakeshore memorial was held deep into the woods around Vadnais Lake. The family chose that spot because the three children’s shoes were found there on the shore, which prompted the emergency search by the Ramsey County rescue and dive team.

Yer Thao, Lee’s mother, vocally grieved in front of the pictures of her three grandchildren. Other family members and friends laid flowers and candles by the shoreline.

“This tragedy has struck me and my grandchildren and it makes me stressful, and it’s sometimes to the point where I’m so shaken that I don’t know what to do anymore,” Cheng said.

While the pain from these losses will never go away, the grandparents feel uplifted by all the support of their Hmong community. They hope their story inspires others who may be struggling to seek help, before harming yourself and others.

“I’m relying on my friends and my community in such dark times,” said Koua Lee, Lee’s dad.

Mental Health Resources 

If you or someone you know is struggling, please call or text the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

Someone is there to answer your call or message anytime, any day of the week.


Source: CBS Minnesota

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