OAKLAND — Amanda Bragg and Amy DeRosby were sisters, but they were like bookends, opposites. Amanda was rather shy and retiring and liked to stay at home and tend to her family, while Amy was more outgoing and bubbly.

But the sisters who were murdered Nov. 4 in their home on Belgrade Road had large hearts. They were loved in return as was evidenced by the nearly 100 family members and friends who turned out Saturday for a celebration of their lives at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Ministry Center.

They hugged, wept and paid tribute to the sisters as well as to Bragg’s partner, Mike Muzerolle, who also was killed last week. Muzerolle’s private service was held Friday.

Their killer, Herman DeRico, 42, committed suicide after the shootings. Police say they still don’t know what his motive was in the killings. DeRico, who lived in the Belgrade Road house, spared Bragg and Muzerolle’s 3-year-old daughter, Arianna, who now is without parents.

At Saturday’s celebration of life, Rev. Effie E. McAvoy McClain, pastor of Oakland-Sidney United Methodist Church, sought to comfort those who were grieving.

She told the New Testament story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat one evening. A wind flared up, creating furious waves that nearly swamped and sank the boat. As Jesus slept on a cushion, his disciples became frightened, woke him and asked, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

At that point, McClain said, Jesus asked the disciples why there were afraid, saying, “Have you no faith?”

McClain used the story to address the great pain, shock and grief the families, friends and community at large are feeling over the tragic and inexplicable killings of Bragg, 30, DeRosby, 28, and Muzerolle, 29, which left a little girl orphaned. How could such a tragedy occur, and how do people heal from it?

While the answer is elusive, one thing is certain, according to McClain. In the incredible outpouring of support, love and caring for the victim’s families and friends and for Arianna, Jesus does care, she said.

“In the midst of our own weeping, God is crying with us,” she said. “In the midst of the inexplicable, God, too, is asking, ‘What is becoming of my people?'”

“In moments like this, we are together and we share in our grief and we share in our loss, and our hearts are open and we are in shock,” McClain said.

The deaths make no sense, yet in the midst of shock and senselessness, people witness the incredible outpouring of love from friends, according to McClain. There’s a balm of Gilead, she said.

“The love of God is being shown in the acts of people,” she said.

McClain, the chaplain for the Oakland Police Department, said she would be untruthful if she said Saturday was an easy day.

“On behalf of officers and first responders, we are so very sorry and our hearts hurt,” she said.

Lise Roseberry played electronic keyboard and sang emotionally-charged renditions of “Who Am I” and “I Can Only Imagine.” In a heart-wrenching speech, Chelsey Cochran memorialized her friend DeRosby. She said they were inseparable through their teen years.

“She was my best friend. We laughed together and we cried together. We did everything together.”

Both were born in 1987, but DeRosby would always remind her that she was older, probably because DeRosby was the youngest in her family, Cochran said.

She swelled with emotion as she recalled that DeRosby had faced many struggles, but with the love and support of her family, she overcame them.

“Amy had a heart of gold. She always had the ability to see the good in other people when others could not.”

DeRosby loved to hug family and friends, and she loved animals, Cochran said.

“I know she will rest easy, knowing I have her fur babies,” she said.

Weeping, Cochran bade her friend farewell.

“I love you, Amy, and I will forever keep you in my heart.”

Two urns — one, a cream-colored urn with flowers and butterflies, and the other, blue with white doves — sat on a table at the altar before the congregation. McClain urged those present to continue to love and support one another. She said the presence of Bragg and DeRosby does not end here, but continues in the legacy of those present.

“As we leave this place, love one another, love this community,” she said. “His presence is here and his grace is real. Go in grace.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.