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Friend: Shooting Victim’s Smile Was Contagious

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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GREENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) - It was a friendship that spanned more than a decade. Melissa Butler Siebanhausen and her long time friend Rebecca Wingo, whose maiden name is Hernandez, were like peas in a pod at Ford High School in Quinlan, Texas.

The two kept in touch even after Wingo went to the Air Force right after high school. The last place she was stationed was in Colorado, where she stayed to raise a family.

Siebanhausen had heard about the mass shooting in Colorado, early Friday, but she never dreamed her childhood friend wound be one of the 12 victims who died that day.

Wingo was at the midnight showing of “Dark Knight Rises” with a friend, who described what happened.

“He said after the firing began that she was unconscious and that he tried to get her out of there and then the guy started shooting again,” she said. Siebanhausen tears up. “It’s just too hard to think about what she went through.”

Since the news, Siebanhausen brought out yearbooks, old photos, letter and cards from her best friend. She says she is choosing to not to dwell on what happened, but rather to remember her friend as she lived.

“There was this aura around her and she – her smile was so contagious,” she said.

Siebanhausen said Wingo was an empowered woman and worked hard for what she wanted. Just two weeks before she left for Air Force boot camp , Wingo became a Christian.

“If you can imagine her smile being any brighter, it got brighter after that. It’s like God just lit her up even more,” she said.

Wingo spent 11 years in the Air Force before retiring in 2008, according to Siebenhausen.

Just speaking of Wingo brings a smile to Siebanhausen’s face.

“I know she is looking down on me and all of her friend and family and I can feel her love around me,” she said.

Wingo leaves behind two daughters, ages eight and five. She will be buried with full military honors in Colorado.

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