“It’s like the nightmare you can’t wake up for.” Family speaks out about slain Blacksburg teen

Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 10:48 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - What was supposed to be Serenity Hawley’s 18th birthday turned into the day her parents would choose her outfit for her funeral.

“I mean, we all expected this to be such a day of joy, not being at the funeral home and being in our church and planning how the service is gonna go. It’s just unreal,” Heather Waldron, Hawley’s mother, told WDBJ7.

Waldron says she received a phone call Tuesday night that her daughter was missing, and soon after, she received news from a detective that her daughter had been found dead.

“It’s like the nightmare you cant wake up for,” said Waldron.

Police say Hawley was found dead in a car along with another teen in a parking garage with a weapon next to them. Her mother says she was shot in the chest by the boy who was in the car with her.

“Everything is such a blur at this point, but to hear that your child in that manner is deceased, you just can’t even fathom it. Like I said it was almost like an out-of-body experience that I was looking down on what was going on, and it just was unbelievable. It’s so surreal,” explained Waldron.

Serenity’s mother described her as someone who lit up everyone’s world, someone who was full of life. “She’s full of life, but that child trusts. She was so trusting that she would have never have thought that this would have happened. I mean she was the light, that you hear people talk about, but she really was. I can’t describe how larger than life that she was,” explained Waldron.

Waldron believes this situation to be a domestic violence incident and says she never thought this would happen.

“The biggest thing is to watch those signs. Don’t think that this is just something you see on TV. This is something that in real life can happen to your child in the blink of an eye. And you just don’t realize that they are in the position that they’re in. They don’t realize it. You know, she never thought this would happen. We never thought,” said Waldron.

Serenity’s father, John Hawley, says her plan for her birthday was to go to Charlotte with her sister to watch the Virginia Tech women’s basketball game.

She was so excited about that; she had sent me a text. Her sister was driving down, her sister goes to Ohio State. So she was driving down to pick her up and they were going to Charlotte. They had floor tickets. They were so excited. That’s how she was going to spend her birthday,” said Hawley.

Serenity leaves siblings, several friends and family members who will miss her dearly.

“She was our angel here on earth, I mean she’s left behind four siblings who thought the world of her and fought with her. But you know, she’s gonna be missed. She’ll be missed every day,” said Hawley.

The family is still in the planning process for her funeral.