Taken Too Soon: Family and Community Honor Memory of HWY 52 Crash Victim

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Tears and hugs were in no short supply Thursday evening as not only a family, but a community grieved the loss of a 12-year-old girl.

Deserae Landowski died after a tragic S.U.V. roll-over crash in the Town of Easton on Friday. Her visitation and funeral service were held on Thursday.

"Deserae, she was just so full of positive energy," her uncle, Ashley Salzwedel said.

Landowski was one of ten teens in that crash on August 8th. She was taken to the hospital with critical injuries.

"When I first heard the news my first thought is she's going to be okay," Salzwedel said. "It was approximately 6 hours before we were able to go back and see her and those 6 hours seemed like days. I just wanted to go in there and see how she was doing and give her a hug and kiss and hopefully she..." he paused.

"She'd be okay," added in his girlfriend Debby Denhardt.

"She would respond back and say 'hi Uncle,'" he finished.

Unfortunately, she died the next day of her injuries.

"It doesn't seem like it's real," he said. "I think we're still in shock yet."

The funeral home Thursday was packed wall-to-wall with the lives Landowski touched as attendants brought in extra chairs. Her B.F.F.E., Best Friend For Eternity, told of how much joy she brought to this world. It is a feeling shared by everyone there.

"She's always smiling. If you had a bad day, she took that bad day and made it wonderful, no matter what kind of day you were having," her uncle said.

"Yeah, she'd just lighten a room up and always so trendy and girly and very polite," added Denhardt.

She is just one of several young deaths in this family in the last ten years, as they lost two of her uncles to suicide and her aunt in a fire back in February, but her uncle said their family remains strong.

"We've always been there for each other," he said. "Every family has their turmoil, but we've always stuck together."

A burial service is being held Friday at 11 a.m. at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau. The non-profit cemetery donated a plot to the family. Monument of Tomahawk also gifted the family a headstone.

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