“I wish I could have been in her place.”
Those were the words Tuesday evening of Maelyn Lind’s choked-up father, Keith Hanson, after Maelyn’s family held a news conference to commemorate her memory.
Hanson said that the tragedy – Maelyn was one of three women who died in the Azana Salon & Spa shooting Sunday in Brookfield - had made him initially question his faith. Then, he realized, “she had to do what she did. She did what was right. God was calling her at this time. She went straight to heaven.”
What Maelyn did was save the daughter of . But that was just like Maelyn, 38, family members said. She was a woman always willing to help others, and she loved children.
Maelyn Lind’s 19-year-old daughter, Kaela Lind, was flanked by family members at the Stone Bank Fire Department as she described her mother as her “best friend,” “a hero,” and a woman who was “full of life and compassion.”
“We lost our mom way too soon to this tragedy. She died a hero."
“I am here to represent my family, and most importantly my mother,” said Kaela, reading a prepared statement. “My mom was the most loving, caring, outgoing woman…she worked very hard and took great care of us.”
Lind, Haughton and a third co-worker, Cary Robuck, 35, of Caledonia, all died at the spa. Brookfield police say they were gunned down by Haughton's husband, Radcliffe Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer. Zina Haughton had recently obtained a restraining order against Haughton.
Kaela said her mother took particular joy in becoming a grandmother.
“Every time she came home, she wanted to see and hold her babies.” Maelyn’s grandson Xander was born Aug. 29; her granddaughter Lily was born on Sept. 19.
“We lost our mom way too soon to this tragedy,” Kaela said. "She died a hero not only to those at Azana on Sunday, but she was also our hero.”
Other family members in attendance included Maelyn’s mother Marsha Hanson; her husband, Tim; their sons, Kody, 17, Kolten, 13, and Kameron Lind, 11; family friends Logan Krivitz and Alyssa Phillips; and Maelyn’s grandchildren, Xander and Lily.
Parents share their memories
After the press conference, Maelyn’s parents spoke in greater detail about their daughter. Maelyn's father described how Kaela had received a text message from one of her mother’s co-workers who “had seen the whole thing.” That’s how the family first learned that Maelyn had died protecting Zina Haughton’s daughter – an account later confirmed to them by law enforcement.
“Maelyn was trying to get the gun from Radcliffe,” he said. “She was trying to protect Zina’s daughter. Maelyn was good friends with Zina and Zina’s daughter. She stepped in the way, and Zina’s daughter was able to get out of there safely.”
The father, choking up with tears, said it didn’t surprise him that his daughter had died saving someone else. She was also interested in helping others, he said. When he joined the local fire department, his daughter wanted to learn CPR from him; when they would drive past an accident, she would express a desire to help.
“She was a God-fearing, loving person,” he said. “Her life was about her children, her family.”
Maelyn was her mom's 'best friend'
In addition to family, Maelyn was always interested in hair styling, ever since she was a student at Hartland Arrowhead High School, he said. She worked at salons throughout the Lake Country area while raising her children.
“She was very organized,” her father said. “She was such a hard worker.”
Maelyn’s mother, Marsha Hanson, with tears welling up in her eyes, described how her daughter was also her “best friend.” They talked every day; they lived next door to each other.
“She was very outgoing. She did anything for all of her friends.” When a friend who lived in Green Bay was going through a hardship, Maelyn immediately drove up there to help, her mother recalled.
The family struggled with finances. “She worked seven days a week,” her mother said.
Marsha Hanson said the family first realized something was wrong when they started getting phone calls from people asking if Maelyn was working that Sunday.
A memorial fund has been set up at BMO Harris Bank in Oconomowoc on Pabst Farm Circle.
Stone Bank School also is handing out purple ribbons for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to all students to wear in memory of Maelyn, whose children attended the school.