NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — One of six educators gunned down with 20 children at an elementary school has been buried with her engagement ring.
Rachel D'Avino’s boyfriend, Anthony Cerritelli, planned to ask her to marry him on Christmas Eve. D'Avino’s sister, Sarah, said the ring originally belonged to her grandmother. She said Cerritelli had it restored and a week before the shooting and had asked her mother for permission to marry Rachel.
Sarah D'Avino said Wednesday that her sister, a behavioral therapist who worked with special needs children, had started working at Sandy Hook Elementary School about two weeks before she was killed.
A gunman shot his way into the school on Dec. 14 and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators. The gunman, who had also killed his mother that morning, committed suicide as police arrived.
Sarah D'Avino said she visited a memorial to her sister and the other victims over Christmas and left music boxes from her sister’s first Christmas, stuffed animals and other items.
Rachel D'Avino had a special talent for reaching children with autism, her sister said. She said one girl didn’t talk or make eye contact when Rachel started working with her.
‘‘This girl came to Rachel’s wake and actually looked my sister, me and my mom in the eye, said how much Rachel meant to her and that she was sorry,’’ Sarah said. ‘‘Rachel made her way into the girl’s world and helped bring her out.’’