Slain Tampa siblings remembered at Texas memorial service

FORT WORTH -- Calyx Schenecker planned to run a marathon in Thailand to benefit orphans and wanted to learn how to train elephants.

Her brother, Beau, was a deeply loyal friend described by family as high-energy.

The teenage siblings with ties to Fort Worth were found fatally shot Jan. 27 at their Tampa, Fla., home. Their mother, Julie Powers Schenecker, 50, is accused in the slaying and is in custody in Florida.

The unique spirits of Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, were honored Tuesday afternoon during a memorial service at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth's Arlington Heights neighborhood.

"Silence, brothers, innocent spirits have passed by," their father, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, told the audience. His voice cracked slightly as he explained that he will deeply miss his children.

"I know my children were loved," he said. "They knew they were loved."

Relatives and friends gathered for prayers and reflection amid gently flickering candles and piano-accompanied hymns. Photos of the smiling siblings were projected at the front of the church as dozens of people entered to show their support for the family. A short video depicted their lives from birth to teenage years. I Hope You Dance played as the teens smiled from the screen in candid moments.

Parker Schenecker asked audience members to draw people close so they can give and receive love.

"Hug your children every chance you get," he urged. "Draw your loved ones closer to you so that you may love and be loved."

The teens' father is a Fort Worth native and a 1980 graduate of Fort Worth Country Day School. An Army intelligence officer, he is stationed at the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He was working in Qatar when the shootings occurred.

Senior Pastor Ted Kitchens said relatives and friends have been brushed by the spirits of Calyx and Beau as they search for meaning in the tragedy.

"This afternoon we celebrate their lives, and we do this in Jesus' name," Kitchens said.

The Fort Worth memorial allowed the community to welcome a military family back home during a time of grief.

"It's important to be around family," Executive Pastor Bill Egner said. "It's important to have something that feels appropriate to your soul to say, 'Goodbye.'"

In a statement, Parker Schenecker said his family takes "comfort from the incredible support and love we have received from friends and colleagues."

He added: "I forever will miss my two beautiful, loving kids. To help cope with my loss and have their incredible spirits live on, I am dedicating the rest of my life to honoring my children."