WILLIS, Texas – Friends and family of a Houston-area woman who was fatally shot trying to save her newborn son from being abducted remembered her fondly Tuesday as a mother who lived for her children and heroically fought for one of them until death.
Authorities say Kala Golden-Schuchardt had just left a pediatric clinic near her home in the Houston suburb of Spring on April 17 when she was shot several times by a 30-year-old nurse who then abducted her 3-day-old son, Keegan.
Witnesses reported that Golden-Schuchardt tried reaching into the Lexus that McClain had sped away in, screaming: "My baby!" She was able to give a description of her shooter to police before she died at a hospital. The boy was found safe hours later with the sister of the suspect, who remains jailed.
"She fought so desperately those last few moments," said Wayne Law, a pastor who spoke at the funeral service. "Today, she is with God. She is at peace."
Law said the question on his mind, as well as others who knew Golden-Schuchardt, was why would somebody harm her and take her newborn son.
"Why Kala?" he said. "I wish I had the answer, but I don't."
Investigators believe Golden was randomly targeted.
Another family pastor, Ed Hendrix, recalled Golden-Schuchardt as a person who could be vocal and outspoken, but who also loved to tease and play and could "hold her own in any burping contest," a comment which elicited laughter from the more than 150 people who attended the funeral service.
Hendrix said Golden-Schuchardt's greatest love was her children, which included Keegan and two other sons.
"She loved being a mother. Her children were her life," Hendrix said during the 40-minute service at a church in Willis, about 50 miles north of Houston.
Hendrix said Golden-Schuchardt also loved animals — dogs, cats, horses and especially butterflies. A group of butterflies was released at her grave in a cemetery in Spring, located about 25 miles north of Houston. Other members of her family are also buried there.
Golden-Schuchardt's immediate family did not speak at the service. Jay Smith, a relative and family spokesman, said the family was "grateful and thankful for the swift action taken by the law enforcement community in bringing baby Keegan home safely."
Verna McClain, who is accused of shooting Golden-Schuchardt and abducting Keegan, remains jailed after a judge denied bond at a court hearing Monday. Investigators believe McClain was desperate for a baby after suffering a miscarriage, and her attorneys have said they planned to review her mental state.
McClain's fiancé, Kevin Carter, 26, told Houston television station KPRC on Tuesday he didn't know she had suffered a miscarriage. He said he thought she had given birth in Galveston weeks earlier and that the baby was being treated in a hospital. Carter said he and McClain had planned a May 5 wedding that would have occurred regardless of the miscarriage.
When contacted by The Associated Press by telephone at his Houston apartment, Carter confirmed he was McClain's fiancé, but hung up when asked about her.
Quanell X, a Houston community activist, later called the AP, saying he had been contacted by Carter's family to serve as a spokesman because the family had received death threats. Quanell X said Carter testified before a grand jury in Montgomery County on Tuesday and that Carter had no indication McClain would do something like this.
McClain faces a capital murder charge, which could carry a death sentence. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek the death penalty. Her attorneys have said she intends to plead not guilty.
McClain was a vocational nurse and had been working for a company that provides private-duty nursing services for medically fragile children and adults facing chronic illness or catastrophic injuries.
Authorities say McClain initially told investigators she had found the baby after it had been left on her doorstep, but later confessed.
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