Community rallies around families of three dead youth

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 11/20/19

Friends of the three young adults killed in a crash Nov. 11 describe them as people who had struggled through the transition to adulthood and were finding their feet.

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Community rallies around families of three dead youth

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Friends of the three young adults killed in a crash Nov. 11 describe them as people who had struggled through the transition to adulthood and were finding their feet.

One had a new baby son, one had tried his hand at Marine Corps life and the other had recently moved to Port Townsend.

Cameron Davis, 20, and Lillimarie Genaw, 21, who both attended Port Townsend High School, were driving with 18-year-old Gabryel Mills, from Bremerton, when, for reasons yet to be determined, the car left the road and collided with a tree.

The crash closed SR 19 outside the airport at milepost 12 for several hours Nov. 11 as the Washington State Patrol investigated. The State Patrol’s final report on the crash has not been released.

According to Ben Genaw, the father of Lilli Genaw, Davis was giving Genaw and Mills a ride home after working a night shift at Key City Fish.

“No drugs or alcohol were involved,” Genaw said.

Washington State Patrol has not released expanded information yet. According to trooper Chelsea Hodgson, it could be several months before more details are released.

Meanwhile, friends and family have raised more than $4,000 to help Davis’ family with final expenses, through a GoFundMe set up by his aunt, Joy Reuther-Costa.

“Cameron is my nephew, and he was 20 years old,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“After work, he picked up some friends, and was dropping them off before heading home to get some sleep.”

According to the State Patrol’s initial report, the vehicle was northbound and left the road, striking a tree on the east side of the road near Prospect Avenue. All three were reported dead at the scene around 4 a.m.

On Nov. 14, friends and family of all three gathered at the New Life Church on Hastings Avenue to remember their lives.

“I think she was just trying to find her place in the world,” said Ben Genaw, Lilli’s father.

Genaw had a 10-month-old baby named Marcus Lee Mitchell.

According to her dad, Genaw had just made the hard choice to leave her baby with its father in Kentucky, while she moved back to Port Townsend.

Genaw had originally moved to Port Townsend with her family from Glasgow, Kentucky. She attended Port Townsend High School for a time, which is where she met Davis.

The two had dated for a while in high school, according to Davis’ mother, Jill Reuther, but remained good friends.

“We knew Cameron and his family really well,” Genaw said.

Genaw moved back to Port Townsend last August. She had been doing some babysitting while looking for work.

“I think she preferred it here,” Ben Genaw said. “She was a fun-loving, happy girl. I don’t think there was enough going on for her back in Kentucky.”

Melannie Jackson, the executive pastor at New Life Church knew all three kids from the church’s youth group. She knew Davis and Genaw the best because of their long-time attendance, she said.

She saw Mills there several times as well and she heard from members of the group that he was a great loyal friend whose loss was leaving a hole in their community.

Jackson said Davis had been attending the church since his freshman year of high school and brought Genaw when they began dating the next year.

Genaw was trying to be the best mom she could be for her son Marcus and was so proud to be his mom, she said.

Jackson had witnessed Genaw and Davis growing into “incredible young adults” and said she was blessed to have been able to see the sensitive side in both of them.

Genaw was the type of person, she said, who would seem shy at first but was really just very observant and keenly aware of other people’s emotions.

Davis, she said, was a big joker but deeper than other people really knew.

Davis had struggled in his senior year of high school, but graduated nonetheless after attending the Youth Academy in Bremerton.

“He worked so hard,” Reuther said. “And he pulled it off. They recognized him for being the most improved when he graduated.”

Later, Davis joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and was honorably discharged, but his mother said he regretted leaving the military.

“He really struggled with that,” she said.

When he got a job working nights at Key City Fish, he began to find himself again.

“He liked working nights,” she said. “It was absolutely perfect for him. He was happy and loving life.”

Johnpaul Davies, owner of Key City Fish, hired Davis and said they were excited to have him on board.

“He was a sharp young guy,” Davies said. “Just like any other young person, he had struggles to overcome, but we saw he was making some positive movement.”

Reuther said she had known the Genaw family for years, as Ben Genaw had grown up on the same street as her mother. But she had only just recently met Mills, who was friends with Davis and Genaw.

“He was a polite, kind boy,” she said.

The Leader reached out to Mills’ mother, but did not receive a response. Reuther said Mills’ mother had surgery on the day of the crash and is still in recovery.

“I just hope people remember her smile,” Genaw said of his daughter. “She always had this childish way of playing when she was a kid. She was always good to her sisters and brothers, and all around a very good person.”

Jackson said events like this remind you not to take people for granted and to never leave “I love you” unsaid.

“This is something where nobody is going to be the same again,” she said. “It makes you want to reach out and grab a hold of people you haven’t been connected to.”

Genaw’s service was held on Nov. 16.

The Reuther family is holding Davis’ service on Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. The service is open to the public, according to Reuther-Costa.

A GoFundMe for Mills’ final expenses has raised nearly $3,000.

“We are working to put together a memorial service, where friends and loved ones can share memories of Gabryel,” wrote Stephanie Rains, the organizer of the GoFundMe. “We will let everyone know when the date and location are set.”

Information on a service for Mills will be shared at ptleader.com when available and if the family wishes.

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