tv FOX 10 News 10pm FOX November 3, 2016 1:00am-1:30am MST
about the loss and the horrific heartache she has been through, but she is a survive. karen perry is our guest this week on newsmaker sunday. great to see you. you and i struck up afriendship throughout this you have been through a lot. karen has chronicles this through the book angels three, the karen perry story. i had no idea how much you had been through before all of this happened. two battles of cancer. infertility issues. a pretty hard scrabble childhood where you lost your sister at a young age. been through a lot. do you ever wonder, karen, why me? >> of course i wondered why me. but i've had time now to reflect and to process and to turn that question into hopefully
from tragedy. >> as you were going through this, were you aware how quickly were you aware that the whole community profoundly felt your loss. >> right away. >> even in your grief you could feel or tell that the whole valley, the state, the country, the world, upon reading about this and seeing it, it just felt deeply moved by >> there is very little i remember about that year in fact, but i do remember that right after the accident, the day after the accident, there were so many phone calls and so much outreach from everywhere. mail and calls and just people everywhere were reaching out to
karen is her love of aviation started at a young age and you became a pilot. you a flight attendant with delta to this day. you never worry about it and you never worried about these kids and never worried about your kids flying as well. >> no, i never did. i never had any qualms whatsoever about them getting on an airplane. if anything, i was more afraid of them having a car accident or something like >> but one of your sons said something in the weeks leading up to that flight, didn't he? >> yeah, he did. my eight-year-old son logan, a week before the accident we were at the stoplight and he reached over to hold my hand and he looked right at me in the eyes and he said, mother, if i die next week, does that mean you will still be my mother.
course, logan. i will always be your mother. >> and then he related to you he was really afraid to fly and you didn't know that. >> no. i didn't know that. >> there are so many ironies in all of this and crazy foreshadowing and things that happened in this entire story. four years later when you look back at that period, is it kind of a blank where you just during that period can you not remember a lot of it? you said that a lot of that year is a loss, particularly after i think it was the 23rd of november. >> yes. it was and a lot of that year -- there are certain things that i do remember pretty clearly, but in general that year is pretty much gone in my memory. and i think that's the way we protect ourselves from pain. yeah, i don't remember much of
there. >> i did. >> and you have done this now how many times? >> this is the eighth time hiking and i spent the night up there twice. >> tell me why that's so important to you. >> that's the sacred place for me because that's where my children perished. so to me that's like their grave site. so i go up there and i honor them and remember them and it's reflect. it's a very beautiful place and a very peaceful place. very hard place to get to. >> it's a tough climb. >> you are sore today. >> i'm very sore. i'm very sore and i think every time i go up there i can almost hear my kids laughing and saying, look what we made mother do again. >> right. and interestingly enough you
superstitions. >> yeah. >> right out your windows in yes. it's been part of my life for a long time. >> when you go up there now, i remember when we chatted maybe a year after the crash you had a bag of stuff. there were several just pieces that you found that were not recovered in the crash. do you still find things up there now? from the crash. >> i do. i do. every time giup there i -- i go up there i and i have found some very interesting things that i've been selective about bringing down. >> and people leave you messages up there. messages for your children. >> yes. people have been so kind. there is a group -- and i didn't know it until yesterday, but there is a hiking group in
there is a memorial of crosses all this time i didn't know who left that up there and i recently just googled a hiking group because i wanted to find people that would be interested in going up there and i just stumbled on this group. as it turns out they went up with us yesterday and one of the people in their group is the one that put that up. >> and you have a memorial up there now too which i saw as it was -- it had been engraved but you hadn't put it up there yet. that went up two years ago. >> yes. >> tell me about the book and the journey of writing the book. first of all why did you want to write it. >> i wanted to write it for a couple of reasons. one of any parent who lost a child will understand i want my children to be remembered. and so it was a document for
would be remembered. secondly when i reflected on the whole story i thought this is not a focus on tragedy. this is a story of hope and inspiration for people who have suffered a loss which is pretty much all of us. >> i think the universal feeling in this community is how can she hold it together because all of us who are parents don't how you did it. how would you answer that question? your composure and grace in this unspeakable tragedy was remarkable. >> i think what kept me going number one was that the memory of my children and secondly my faith kept me moving forward. got me out of bed every day.
was meant to help underprivileged children. and we provide hot meals and structured activities and aquinas assisted therapy. and some of these children were children that my children went to school with. that was beauty that came out of a couple of years of seeing these beautiful little people doing better and better every day and seeing the smiles on their faces and realizing that i still have a purpose even though i had a huge hole in my life and my life. >> no better way than to honor your children's memory by helping other kids. >> of course. >> when i look at the pictures of these kids they are beautiful but they had their challenges,
oldest. let's start with morgan. she had some real profound medical issues, didn't she? >> yes, she did morgan presented with epileptic seizures six weeks after she was born. and it was never conclusive as to why. the only answers we got was that it was non-genetic. she had a lot of struggles in her young life. she when through five brain morgan learned how to do was incredibly difficult to teach her. she just had profound difficulties with meeting her milestones and part of that was the medication that she took to subdue the seizures. they also unfortunately inteferred with her ability to learn. >> and then your middle child
he became your guardian in some respects, didn't he and he took that role. he knew what the role was because your youngest luke he had kind of -- he had some learning disabilities as well, right? >> he was diagnosed with autism. >> i was going say asperger's but autism. but a character of a kid. just a quirky fun kid. >> very much so. >> the life of the party. >> oh, yeah. >> yes, very smart. taught himself how to read and write when he was two. >> i read that that was amazing. and an incredibly smart kid who loved photography. would take hundreds of pictures of himself. and left me so many gifts of photos. >> i remember you telling me on your computer he would hijack your computer and take pictures of himself snapping away shots
thankful he had done this but at the time it was a bit of a problem and he would dial your friends up, people on your phone, too. he was per conscious, right? >> absolute. >> that's a six-year-old. >> oh, yeah. a lot of fun. yeah, logan used to do it, too. he would dial people up and get me in trouble for some of his phone calls and i would get messages back saying, why don't you like lock him out of the phone and i would say i already did that. he figured out if he dialed 911 he could get a outside line and then i found out the sheriff was showing up at my home at 2:00 in the morning so that wasn't good either. >> is it harder in some respects than it was even immediately afterwards? does some of this soak in
farther down the road than you were four years ago. >> that's an interesting question because i feel maybe a little of both. to me the whole experience is still surreal to a certain extent even though i know that it happened. i mean even today -- and when i was going through the story with landen. >> the author. >> the author. we would get together once a week at just go through experience by experience. and he could bring up something about one of my children not being here any more and it was almost like i had just heard it for the first time and i would go what? they aren't here any more? i mean, i just have to keep hitting myself and saying -- it's so hard for me to accept and believe that they aren't here.
so many ways. they are always with you right out your window. you climb that mountain. you feel their presence in many different ways, don't you? >> yes, i do. >> still. >> still. and i get a lot of signs from them. >> when you are traveling, you are a flight attendant with delta, do people coming out of phoenix recognize you? >> sometimes they do. yeah. >> and they don't know what to say. i'm sure a lot of them don't know what to say. we all >> yeah. sometimes they just hug me and say, you know, i know who you are and i think the world of you it is touching that people recognize and remember. >> as we go to break, what did you learn about this community through all of this? >> what a wonderful community of people here. absolutely, john.
it touched me very deeply. >> i know it did. we are with karen perry who four years ago this week lost her three children. morgan, logan, luke and her estranged husband shawn perry in the crash that killed sick people in the superstition mountains. when we come back a little bit more about the crash, the causes of the crash, what led to it and the incredible chain of circumstances of which maybe if one had been missing everyone would have made it down south to safford that author of the new book, angels
images from the mountain we didn't know what had happened. i was on the air and kari and i were on the air. you were first made aware of the phone call but you had a little stirring when you tried or were waiting for a text or a message from your kids saying we made it. we were in safford of the flight was to go from falcon field to safford. they were going to spend thanksgiving with your husband. >> exactly. i had sent a text and my said did you make it in okay and i sent that to their father. and did not get a response, but didn't think much of it because it's happened before where people get busy and they don't answer you right away and i thought, well, they are probably there and i will hear from them in a little while. i drifted off back to sleep and it was after that i was awoken by a phone call. >> where someone said the words
thought, well, planes crash all the time. why are you telling me this. you did not put it together. >> no, not at all. >> when did you findally wrap your mind around it? -- finally wrap your mind around it? >> when i was given some specifics that it was ponderosa aviation. >> who your husband flew with. >> he was a pilot with them. >> exactly. i was told it was one of their aircraft. so i called the basically said i understand one of your airplanes is down. he was in shock as well. he said you mean the sheriff hasn't been there yet? and that's when i knew it was really bad. >> and paul babeu came to your door eventually. >> yes. >> paul has been a guest on this program. i know him pretty well. i think the term soft hands would apply here. he handled it as best as could
news. >> paul is wonderful human being. and very compassionate, very honest man. i think the world of him. >> we started to get to know each other as i worked on a story on the airspace issue in that area. i would show the story but it's nine minutes long so you can look it up on-line and i will try to post it somewhere. basically what we discovered through internal faa there was concern about the airspace in in in that area. you have superstitions rise to a certain level but pilots are expected to stay below the tops of the mountain because they don't want to get into airspace where jet liners are coming in. the pilots are kept artificially low and puts the mountains into play. but that was only of several factors in this crash and pilot error was to blame, the official cause of the ntsb are you
concluded. >> i'm comfortable with it and i believe there are other factors that came into play. >> the airspace being one of them. >> the airspace being one of them. in any aircraft accident there is always a chain of events and links, if you will, and perhaps if any of those links had been broken maybe the accident could have been avoided. but yes, the disoriented and lost situational awareness and basically the accident was called controlled flight into terrain. however, there were some things that happened that night that it was just -- >> your husband shawn did not fly the plane that night and you assumed he would be flying but he was probably in the back tending to the kids. >> he was in the back, yeah. he was in the back.
change at falcon field tower at 6:30. the aircraft had just taken off a few minutes before that. at 6:30 the controllers were doing a briefing for the next shift and at 6:31 the aircraft hit the mountain. and even though they were just exiting the controlled airspace for falcon field, had someone been monitoring the screen at that time they would have seen an aircraft per hour toward the mountain. >> exactly. and aside from that it was a moonless night. had the moon been even remotely up in some degree, the pilot would have seen terrain. >> right. >> so there were so many factors that led to this. four years later do you ever ask yourself why that night? why that chain of events? why you?
i have to be at peace with it and come to terms with it because it did happen. and i have just -- instead of trying to make sense of it, i have just tried to be at peace with it and try to go forward with my life. i don't say moving on. i say moving forward because it's more of a transcendence. i take the experiences with my as i move forward. >> with that in mind, do you have people seeking you out who are going through crisis to say how do i do this? >> yeah. >> is that tough to handle, to take on that? >> sometimes it is. >> and you got your own stuff to deal with. >> sometimes it is. >> people seek you out because they think she got through it and she knows how to do this and you tell them what.
next. >> pretty much, yeah. yeah. >> is that the advice for somebody who faces something like this? >> everyone grieves in their own way. and everyone deals with their own situations as they do. i want people to feel hopeful that they can get through the tough things in their life no matter what. i never compare my situation with i just don't do that i know we all go through tough times in our lives and i do believe that we all can get through it. >> you written a book and it's landen napoleon who wrote it he contacted me for input into the book as well because of the story we did. really good guy who took great care with this. he did a nice job.
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somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay? and you can tell them to go f--- themselves! you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever... you gotta see this guy. 't know what i said, ahh. "i don't remember."
final minutes with karen perry as you know the story if you were around from 2011 when she lost her three children. her estranged husband, two other and then on a flight that crashed in the superstitions on thanksgiving eve 2011. the book is out. people want you to talk. they want you to speak and tell your story. was that an acquired taste to go out and speak before people and tell them your story and bear your soul each time it exhausting. like this, it has to be not easy. >> absolutely. it was not something i ever had envisioned myself doing. before i had children, i had people would tell me you need to write a book about some of my life -- >> before all of this. >> yeah. and then after the children came along and this tragedy happened, it became very clear to me that
would give people hope and inspiration. >> you turn the wreckage of that plane into a sculpture, a piece of art. tell me why you did it and what it means to you. >> i did it because, you know looking at the wreckage, it's such a hard thing to look at. >> we looked at it together in the yard. >> we did. we looked at it. hard to see an airplane like was part of that accident. and again it was something that i thought we could turn something that appeared very ugly into something beautiful and make it a piece of art. that is underway and it will reside at the superstition mountain museum when it's completed. >> it's great to see you again. we love you here, you know that. this community loves you.
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