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Mom, daughter lose lives

Girl, 14, attended Park Academy
by: Vern Uyetake, Rebecca Recht, left, and her mother Laurie Recht sang along and clapped during a concert by Peter Yarrow at Park Academy Monday, Oct. 8. The Rechts were found dead in their Vancover, Wash., home three days later.

A day following a Neighbors story in the Lake Oswego Review and West Linn Tidings on Rebecca Recht, a Park Academy student with cerebral palsy, authorities say both the girl and her mother died in their Vancouver, Wash., home.

According to Clark County Sheriff's deputies, the bodies of Recht, 14, and her mother, Laurie, were discovered Friday when a neighbor stopped by after not seeing the family for a few days.

Deputies found them lying together in bed with their arms wrapped around each other, said Sgt. Tim Bieber. They possibly died Wednesday.

No note was left at the scene.

Preliminary reports from the sheriff's office suggest mother and daughter died of prescription drug overdoses. Beiber said all indications point to a murder-suicide, but deputies are waiting on toxicology reports before making a final determination.

'There were pills located near the mother and daughter and there was no indication of foul play,' he said.

A funeral was held Sunday at Riverview Abby in Portland.

Last Thursday, the two newspapers ran a feature story about a visit to the Park Academy by Peter Yarrow, famed musician with the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

Yarrow performed a concert at the school on Oct. 8 after being invited there as part of his ongoing friendship with Rebecca Recht. The school for kids with dyslexia and other learning differences is located at Marylhurst University.

Yarrow and the girl met about three years ago when he played a benefit concert in Portland to help move Rebecca out of public school, where she was struggling both academically and socially.

Yarrow called the girl 'Rivka' - the Hebrew form of Rebecca - and reportedly e-mailed her almost daily from his home in New York City.

'He is my very, very, very, best friend in the whole world,' Rebecca said at the Oct. 8 concert. 'I love him and he loves me.'

When Rebecca Recht sang with Yarrow at the concert, Laurie Recht wiped away tears and walked up to the stage to hug her.

Efforts to contact Yarrow this week were unsuccessful. He will return to Park Academy Tuesday, Oct. 23 to perform a concert in remembrance of Rebecca Recht.

'I've talked to him a couple of times,' said Paula Kinney, Park Academy director. 'Obviously, he's still processing this. He was her rock and mentor and she really looked up to him. He's grieving a lot.'

Kinney was at a conference in Washington, D.C., when she heard the news. She immediately flew back to Oregon and arranged for a grief counselor to visit the school's students.

'It gave them an opportunity to share how they were feeling and ask questions,' Kinney said.

She said the students are handling Rebecca's death as best as kids can. Many of the younger students repeatedly ask, 'Why?'

Many adults who knew the Rechts are also wondering why this happened. There was no indication what may have prompted the murder-suicide.

Laurie Recht, a single mom with little money, quit her job to care for Rebecca and struggled financially, especially to keep Rebecca in private school.

'She was constantly trying to find ways to ensure that Rebecca would be taken care of educationally,' Kinney said.

Despite her disability, Rebecca could have gone to college, held down a job and lived on her own with little assistance, Kinney said.

'I think (Laurie's) expectations for Rebecca were really high, and I think Rebecca wanted to live up to those expectations,' she added.