Kurt Hildebrand

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January 9, 2013
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Children killed in Oklahoma fire once lived in Carson Valley

Four children who were killed in an Oklahoma City house fire last month were born in Northern Nevada and once lived in Gardnerville and Smith Valley.

Natalie Marie Leon, 8, Samantha May Leon, 7, Matthew Zackary Leon, 5, and Kara Lily Leon, 3, all of Newcastle, Okla., died the day after Christmas along with Jeanine Bonnet, 28, after a space heater set an early morning house fire.

Woodfords resident Wes Robbins was living with the children's grandmother while they were born, and said he is their adopted grandfather.

"They were all born and raised here," he said. "They adopted me. They said 'We want you as our grandpa,' and I can't turn down any little faces."

The 57-year-old Robbins said all four children and their cousins were raised together.

"All the kids were raised basically in the same house, so they all think of themselves as sisters and brothers," he said. "I'm the grandpa who gets down on the floor and plays with them."

The family moved to Oklahoma in 2008, last living in Carson City, according to grandmother Franki Leon. The children were too young to have gone to school here before they left, Leon said.

Leon's son Matthew was father to all four children. Bonnet was mother to Natalie, Samantha and Matthew.

"The kids were happy always riding quads out with their dad," Leon said. "They loved life, and they were exciting to have around."

Leon described them as happy-go-lucky children who could be a handful.

"Matty thought he was superman," she said. "He would jump off the dressers, jump from couch to couch."

Kara was the fashion girl who changed her clothes 20 times a day, never knew what was clean. Samantha was the peacekeeper, who made sure everything was kept in order, and Natalie was the ultimate big sister, bossy, stubborn, who always made sure things went her way."

A memorial service for the family was Jan. 5. Donations may be made to the Matthew Leon Children's Memorial Fund, 10219 353rd St., Blanchard OK, 73010.

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 10, 2013 10:50AM Published Jan 9, 2013 03:41PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.