Name: Makayla Pickett
Died: December 24, 2014
Age at death: 14
Cause of death: Fire (Arson)
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina, USA
Other victims: Pamela Pickett, 51
Makayla’s family describes her this way:
Makayla was an inspiring 14 year old girl, who was blind and diagnosed with autism. She had a smile and laugh that would light up a room. Her love for life was infectious and everyone who met her became an instant friend. She touched so many lives during her 14 years…. There was no stranger to Makayla.
Makayla lived with her family, including her great-aunt Pamela. Pamela was an introverted homebody who spent much of her time caring for Makayla and her sister Beverly; Makayla was an extrovert who seemed to love everyone she met.
The family’s house was set on fire deliberately, with fires set at the front and back doors to prevent escape. At the time, five people were in the house–Pamela, Makayla, and three others. When Makayla realized what was happening, she got up and woke her family, probably saving their lives.
Pamela helped three family members escape the house before she stumbled out of the house and collapsed in the yard; she was so injured that she died in the hospital. Makayla never got out; though she had helped save her family, she died in the fire.
The arsonist was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of first-degree arson and sentenced to life without parole.
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