MEDFORD (CBS) – The parents of Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell in a rare interview shared memories of their daughter and of the tragic day when they lost her.
They talked about a caring young woman who even after a 15-hour day of work would come by their house to pick up her beloved pit bull, Rocky, and return five hours later to drop him off again and head back to work.
“She loved that dog,” Bill Campbell Jr. recalled.
They described Krystle as a “neat freak” even as a little girl. “She wouldn’t leave that room unless her bed was made,” her father said.
“She didn’t get that from her mother,” Patricia said with a laugh.
When the bombs went off at the marathon finish line last year, Bill Campbell was watching on TV and Patricia was at work, where she heard about it on the radio.
Their son, Bill Campbell III, thought his sister was at the Red Sox game and kept trying to reach her cellphone. But then, Patricia recalled, her son said “Mom, I have a funny feeling Krystle is involved in this.”
Sadly, he was right. Krystle had gone to the finish line with her friend Karen Rand to wait for Rand’s then-boyfriend and now husband Kevin McWatters, who was running.
When the Campbells finally got through on Krystle’s cellphone it was answered by a nurse who told them their daughter was in surgery.
At 2:45 the next morning, the Campbells were told the bleeding was under control and they could go in for a brief minute.
But when Bill Campbell went into the room he saw it was not his daughter, but her friend Karen.
It was then that the Campbells learned their 29-year-old daughter was dead.
“After thinking for 15 hours that your daughter’s going through all this stuff but she’s not, she’s gone,” Bill recalled.
“A parent should never have to bury a child because the hardest thing any parent has to go through is to lose a child. I don’t care if it’s newborn, 6 years, 30 years or 40 years,” Bill Campbell said. “It’s very difficult.”
The Campbells told of how they later learned that Krystle switched places with a woman from California to allow her in front of the crowd to see a friend who was finishing earlier.
“My daughter went out behind her and less than 3 or 4 seconds later the bomb went off,” Bill Campbell said.
He said that when they met the California woman, she felt like it was her fault. “It wasn’t,” he said.
But he added that while they were not angry at the woman, they couldn’t help but ask themselves “why our daughter’s gone and you’re still here.”
Despite their own loss, the Campbells’ hearts went out to those who were hurt and who they later met.
“I could hear that 260 people got injured but to see them is a whole different ballgame,” Patricia said.
“The strength of these kids and young women, young boys, babies,” Bill Campbell said. “Their strength is just … I’m not gonna complain again.”
Krystle’s grandmother, Lillian Campbell, recalled that she found solace even as her granddaughter was being laid to rest.
“When I saw Krystle in the casket I told her, ‘Poppa’s waiting for you and you’re going to be OK’.”
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