LANCASTER, Texas - Family members of the 17-year-old Lancaster girl who died from COVID-19 say nearly everyone in her immediate family has also tested positive, making the grieving process even more difficult.
Jameela Barber was finishing her junior year at Lancaster High School. She is the youngest person to die from COVID-19 in Dallas County and possibly the state. Her family is devastated at the loss of her promising life.
Henry Brown, Jameela’s stepfather, says the family is struggling with emotions. One minute, they were laughing at a memory of the 17-year-old. The next, they were in tears over their loss. They have still not been able to tell their 5-year-old daughter that her big sister is not coming home.
Brown says Jameela was the life of the family. He says his stepdaughter was creative and drawn to the arts. The honor student had her future planned.
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“She wanted to be an interior designer. That was her thing. Her plan was to graduate and go to Prairie View A&M,” he said.
Brown says the novel virus has been spreading within his family.
“The older daughter and myself, we’ve tested positive for it. I’m still dealing with it. My wife got tested again yesterday, and she tested positive for it. We have a 5-year-old that hasn’t come back with a positive test at all,” he said.
Brown hopes the public continues to take precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
“Everybody needs to take this seriously. The government wants to open up, but Texas is not ready to open up. So I ask that everybody, all the people, please take this serious,” he said. “Stay in. Keep your mouth and keep your face covered. Take this serious. This thing is real. This is no hoax. This is real.”
Brown says the outpouring of sympathy and support has been tremendous from Jameela's friends at school and the city of Lancaster.
Jameela's biological father is also sick and in the hospital with COVID-19.
The family has started the process of making Jameela’s funeral arrangements. Those have not been completed.