Rogersville woman opens up about losing her father to COVID-19, three years after daughter killed in murder-suicide

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 8:55 PM CST
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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - The family of a Rogersville woman murdered in 2017 is now experiencing another heartbreaking loss.

“Tiffany took a toll on our family when we lost her,” said Darla Long. “There were many nights I didn’t think I would make it. There were days I was hoping I wouldn’t wake up. “

Long’s daughter Tiffany Fleming was killed in what was ruled a murder-suicide in 2017.

”I do know I have to go on, Tiffany would want us to go on, my dad would want us to go on, and my mother,” Long said.

Her father Tommie Long died ten days ago, after COVID-19 spread throughout his long term care facility.

”They said it wasn’t on his side of the building, but I knew inside it would spread, I knew it my heart it would spread,” Long said. “And, it did. It spread, and the patients got it, my father was one of them, and it’s not the facility’s fault, it’s no one’s fault. It’s a disease. “

Long said the support of her family is what has pulled her through the tough losses. Shannon Stafford remembered her grandpa, Tommie, as a giving gardener, sharing the fruits of his labor with others.

”He would just pass them out to random people on their door step and just leave it there for them to find,” Stafford remembered. “Those were my most favorite things about him. He was just a kind, kind-hearted man. You know, very giving.”

Stafford said the loss has been hard, and tells others to hug their loved ones while they can.

”It seems like the elders is really where it hits, you know, and gets worse, so just love them while you can,” she said.

Stafford said her grandpa’s health was on a steady decline after he tested positive for the virus. Family was not able to visit him when he was transferred to the hospital. Stafford said the funeral service was very emotional.

“It’s just something really tough, not being able to have an actual funeral service, we had to do a graveside,” she said. “There’s just so many precautions we had to take and it’s really rough, it’s out there and it’s real.”

Long said she hopes her family’s story will encourage people to take COVID-19 seriously.

”Don’t take for granted that your family won’t get it, don’t take for granted that they won’t lose their life over it,” Long said. “It’s very painful, it is very real, and I just really hope people listen, wear their mask, and stop doing so many gatherings.”

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