Friday, June 8, 2012

Middletown, CA: Bethany Vogel to be remembered at June 9 memorial service

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – On Saturday, friends, family and the community with gather in Hidden Valley Lake to remember the life of a vibrant, compassionate and hard working young woman whose life ended too soon.

A memorial service for 33-year-old Bethany Vogel of Cobb will take place beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Hidden Valley Community Church, 18160 Spruce Road Ext., Hidden Valley Lake.

Her family said the community is invited to come and take part in the Saturday memorial.

Bethany Vogel’s father, Derek Vogel, and his girlfriend Kami Huston discovered the young woman’s body in her Cobb home on the evening of Friday, May 4.

Later that night, sheriff’s deputies arrested 44-year-old James Carpy, her ex-boyfriend, for her murder.

Carpy was found unresponsive in his jail cell two nights later, and was pronounced dead.

The exact causes of death for both Bethany Vogel and Carpy have not yet been released by the sheriff’s office.

However, the Vogel family said Bethany Vogel’s body showed signs that she was brutally beaten, leaving them – and her friends – to conclude that an act of domestic violence ultimately claimed her life.

The tragedy is made the sharper for those who knew her because her life was going in a positive direction, thanks to her pursuit of an education that was leading her toward becoming an educator.

“She was doing very well in school. She was top of her class,” said Derek Vogel.

He became emotional as he said, “She was a happy girl. She always had a smile on her face.”

And while not much of a cook, she had recently become somewhat of a cupcake expert, and made the little treats for everyone and anyone, according to her father.

He and Huston said she offered tremendous support to her friends and family.

“She was amazing. She really was,” said Huston. “She was just taking care of people.”

Derek Vogel said his daughter was planning to move to Lakeport and had a job lined up working with special needs children.

Dr. Laurie Daly, a professor in early childhood education at Yuba College’s Clearlake campus, had gotten to know Bethany Vogel over the course of the last semester, with Vogel taking three of her classes.

“She was really an awesome, awesome student, and I don’t want her to be forgotten, and I don’t want her to be remembered as this murder victim,” said Daly.

Daly said Vogel was blossoming thanks to her studies and her new direction, and that may have caused her trouble in her relationship with Carpy.

“Bethany was an outstanding student, a knockout,” said Daly, noting that the young woman did everything with excellence, was always prepared, was curious and had an infectious desire to learn.

Vogel “was clearly wanting to become a teacher,” said Daly, but still actively trying to find her niche and exploring the grade levels she wanted to teach.

Working with special needs children was becoming an interest for her, especially after she had done a case study on friend Sabrina Jose’s young daughter, who has Down syndrome.

“That was a new ‘Aha’ for her,” said Daly.

Jose, who lives in Middletown, had become Vogel’s friend as they attended classes together.

“School was important to both of us and that’s what we had in common,” Jose said.

Vogel “was all about the kids,” said Jose, who added that Vogel had been a nanny at one point, traveling with a family to France.

She also had clicked with Jose’s daughter who has Down Syndrome.

Vogel was smart, easy to be around, trustworthy, reliable, loud and funny, Jose said.

Jose said Vogel was feeling good about the changes in her life, and looking forward to what was going to happen next. “She had her whole life ahead of her, and I think she could feel that.”

However, “She just didn’t get enough time.”

Daly said she last saw Vogel on the night of Thursday, May 3, in class. They had taken part in an all-day conference and were watching a DVD that had them all laughing.

“It was a fun night,” Daly said. “She left with a smile on her face and we were laughing.”

Looking back, Daly said, “We were probably the last people who were with her.”

The next day, Vogel was supposed to be at Jose’s home, where she was going to spend time taking pictures with Jose’s young daughter. But she never showed up.

That afternoon, Huston received a phone call from Vogel’s older half-sister, who also was to have seen her that day. But she never arrived, and her cell phone went to voice mail

Huston went to the Hogan Hill Lane home where Carpy and Vogel were living together, although they were no longer romantically involved.

She knocked on the sliding glass door to Vogel’s bedroom but got no answer, and the shades were drawn. She also got no answer at the front door.

Later, she and Derek Vogel returned. They again got no answer at Bethany Vogel’s room, but they got Carpy to answer the front door. They gained entry to the house and found the young woman’s body in her bedroom.

Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene following the family’s 911 call and arrested Carpy.

But it wasn’t until the weekend that Bethany Vogel’s friends found out what had happened.

Daly said she initially wasn’t concerned when Jose called her on Saturday to say that she hadn’t seen Vogel. Later, they found out about Carpy’s arrest.

Jose, who said she’s had a life with plenty of hard knocks, still said her friend’s death has hit her hard.

“It’s almost too much for me,” she said.

In the wake of the murder, Daly called in help from Lake Family Resource Center – where she is a board member – in order to provide grief counseling to her students.

The center sent two grief counselors, with Executive Director Gloria Flaherty also coming to class during the week to assist with ministering to Vogel’s grieving fellow students.

Together they tried to process the tragedy, sharing their memories of the happy, bubbly young woman whose excitement and engagement in her education was palpable.

Shortly before her class on May 9, Daly said she received a call from Vogel’s mother, who asked if she and other family members could come. Daly said yes.

“It’s not in the textbooks how to prepare for that one,” she said.

Daly reminded her students that they were caregivers, and that Vogel’s family wanted to connect with her through them.

When Vogel’s mother, grandmother, aunt and niece arrived, “We just loved on them,” Daly said.

Vogel really cared for her fellow students, said Daly. “Bethany bonded us in a way that we’ll never be the same.”

In memory of Vogel’s passion for working with young children, Daly set up the Bethany Vogel Early Childhood Education Scholarship Fund.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Daly said.

Donations are payable to Yuba College, with “Bethany ECE” in the memo, 15880 Dam Rd., Clearlake, CA 95422.

The family also is requesting donations in Vogel’s memory to Lake Family Resource Center’s domestic violence shelter, Freedom House, 5350 Main St., Kelseyville, in order that part of her legacy can be helping victims of domestic violence, which they believe is what took her life.

Daly and Jose also will be speaking at Vogel’s Saturday afternoon memorial.

To those who knew her, Vogel was not just a fun and thoughtful young woman. She also was intelligent and powerfully introspective.

Shortly after her death, as Daly was reading through some of Vogel’s final papers, she said she found Vogel’s writing so alive and vibrant it was hard to believe she had died.

In one of those papers, as Vogel was reflecting on an early childhood education conference,she wrote, “What could possibly be more important than what we are doing right now?”

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