Seattle couple Kate Donahue and Jesus Sanchez would have been exchanging wedding vows on Sunday, but shortly after their engagement, they were killed in a blowtorch attack in Puerto Rico.
Instead of spending the day in a sad and somber mood, both families decided to get together and spend the day celebrating their love at Seattle's Space Needle, where the original wedding reception was scheduled to occur.
Sanchez, a Boeing Co. engineer, had only known Donahue for five months when he asked the Group Health nurse to marry him. His sister Patricia Sanchez said Sunday that he had fallen head over heels.
“My other sister was the first to meet her and she said, ‘Patricia, Jesus met this girl, it’s so ridiculous, he’s acting so funny and so in love, I’ve never seen him like this.’”
Kate’s father, Tom Donahue, said, “They were so much alike, sense of humor, and having fun was a big part of their life.”
Shortly after getting engaged, Sanchez took Donahue to Puerto Rico to meet his family. Police said that last New Year’s Day, Sanchez’s uncle splashed gasoline on nine people at the family gathering and set them afire with a blowtorch. Six died, including Donahue and Sanchez. A motive was never determined.
“Obviously I get sad,” Patricia Sanchez said Sunday. “What makes me sad is having lost all these people that I cared for. I try not to think about all the details, or how it happened. That’s not what is important, what is important is remembering them.”
Tom Donahue said he should have been walking his daughter down the aisle Sunday and celebrating her new life with her husband at the Space Needle.
“I think about it a lot,” he said. “It`s been very difficult day. We`ve had a lot of family surround us, knowing that we`d be struggling with this.”
So they turned Sunday into a celebration of Kate and Jesus’ love. Jesus’ father, Peter, flew in from Puerto Rico for the event.
Kate’s mother, Michelle Donahue, said, “They had a love for each other that was unbelievable. Love for family and today we are one with the Sanchez family -- one big family. We so feel their presence here, we’re doing exactly what she would want. Look at the cake, this is just the kind of people they were -- fun, oh so much fun.”