ELMHURST—At approximately 2 p.m. on Jan. 17, I became aware that two of my peers at my old middle school . I was just shocked and horrified. I wondered, how did such an event occur? At first I considered that it may have been a typical house fire, but it wasn’t. The mom’s ex-boyfriend, Cedric Anderson, murdered the mom, Ursula Nailor; her two sons, Dan Nailor and Darnell Holt; and their cousin, Dominique Robinson. Then, he set their house ablaze to try to get rid of evidence.
Dan was only 13 years old and we knew each other since 2006. I never considered that anyone I knew would die so young. I can still hear him as he went down the hallway saying, "Hey," in his deep voice to everyone he saw.
Darnell was in the same grade as my brother. He was on my track team for two years at Albright Middle School. He graduated last year and was a freshman at Willowbrook High School, and age 16. He was always nice to my brother and myself. One time we were in track, right before my race. He knew I was not that confident and told me that anything is possible and it did not matter how much taller or stronger the other competitors were. He said I could persevere and I had the potential to win. He was one of the kindest kids I knew. I thought we would all be here on earth the next day but sadly not.
Things like this are tragic, and I am always wondering, "Why did this man kill them and set the house ablaze to cover it all up. What did they do to deserve this?" My answer is, they didn’t. They were absolutely too young to die. Their cousin just happened to be there that night. She wasn’t even a target, except for the fact he didn’t want anyone to tell on him; so he killed her too.
Why do tragedies happen? Just because one man gets upset doesn’t mean a person or people should die. If you look back at history, this has been a major issue and it needs to be put to an end.
One assumption is that Cedric Anderson was possibly afraid of going to jail. He was recently proven guilty for the possession of heroin, but his sentence was going to be decided by March. If the judge decided to send him to jail sooner, this may not have happened. Another assumption was that he was mad at his ex-girlfriend, Ursula Nailor, because she kicked him out after he came home drunk one night and he wanted revenge. She had said that she didn’t want him around her children if he was going to be a bad influence on them.
After he murdered them and set the house ablaze, he went to his parents’ house, left a suicide note and killed himself there.
Later, on the 17th at 7 p.m., there was a prayer gathering in front of their house where this all took place. Students at Albright wore black, and at Willowbrook they wore red the next day in honor of Dan and Darnell. I was included in all of this too. In front of Willowbrook High School there is a rock which, on the same day, they painted in red and in black, "R.I.P DH," which stands for "Rest in Peace Darnell Holt." At Albright Middle School, Dan’s and four other lockers were covered in notes.
This event was tragic, but to me what is worse are some of the comments posted on Elmhurst Patch about it. One posted by Ken reads, “You leave the ghetto for the suburbs but somehow the ghetto always come back to haunt you.” Another one posted by Jim Court reads, “Chicago has steadily moved Section 8 individuals to the suburbs. Many of the section 8 people are from poorer and lower social classes. Although it is not politically correct to acknowledge this. Many students from these families are also given full scholarships. Elmhurst has seen an increase in crime as well as other suburbs have.”
Jim did apologize and agreed with another person named Tania, who had said that their comments were racist and every race has a ghetto and a low social class. I agree with Tania on both of her opinions. My English teacher told me I wouldn’t find negative comments about this event, but sadly I did.
My brother and I are in the process of putting together a fund-raising dinner and have opened a bank account for donations to help with costs of the funeral, etc. To donate, go to a Harris bank location and you can contribute to the Taken Too Soon Memorial Fund. My brother came up with the idea, so I can’t take much credit. We are working together to get the money and everything in order.
It is going to be hard time without them. Eventually we will move on, but they will always be in our hearts! They are in better place now.
—Rachel Grace Doyle