WARREN, Mich. (FOX 2) - The stockings that Kathleen (Rene) Morrisette had set up for her grandchildren still remain, even after she was murdered by her own grandson in her home.
The 68-year-old woman was found dead inside a large recycling bin at her home at 9 Mile and Ryan Road Thursday. The suspect, her own grandson, was arrested in Ohio after stealing her car. He was in jail and awaiting extradition when he went for an officer's gun and was shot and killed.
On Friday, the day after she was murdered and the day before her family was supposed to hold the traditional family Christmas, her son talked about what happened.
"She would light up a room. She would smile at everybody, make everyone happy. She was the glue that held this whole family together. We've had several tragedies and she's been the one to help us pull through all of them," said her son. "It was always, always about family."
Rene had two sons, the one who spoke with FOX 2 on Friday was not the father of the suspect, Damon Barstad.
The family was supposed to open presents Saturday morning. Instead, they're in mourning and shock.
"I'm in shock. I don't know why," her son said. "That's what's so shocking, we just don't understand. What happened? Did he have some kind of psychotic break" I honestly don't know. I know he was estranged from the family for a few years but he came back last summer, made some amends, and moved in with mom last fall."
Every year around this time, the family would gather for family Christmas and Rene always delivered, her son said.
"Every year, my mom would get everyone an ornament. You always got an ornament from mom."
The family is feeling the loss of a woman who led Bible study, checked on her family and friends and made everyone feel at home.
"I feel so bad for my brother. I just can't imagine the loss he's feeling," her son said.
On top of this, Rene's husband had just been released from a nursing home after fighting a long illness. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family through this time. Click here for more.