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'Angels' Field' is dedicated in Palm Bay

Field named in honor of the three children killed by mother

The southernmost baseball field at West Oaks Park has been named Angels Field in memory of three young childen who perished earlier this year.
The southernmost baseball field at West Oaks Park has been named Angels Field in memory of three young childen who perished earlier this year. (Craig Bailey / FLORIDA TODAY)

PALM BAY, Fla. – A cool morning breeze, an overcast sky breaking up to welcome in rays of sunshine. The rhythmic pinging of aluminum baseball bats from little league warming up for a game.

Saturday was a perfect morning for baseball.

It wasn't a perfect day to remember the tragic deaths of three children. It's never a perfect day for something like that.

Still, Palm Bay Mayor William Capote tried to frame the formal naming of "Angels' Field" in West Oaks Park on Saturday morning the best way he could.

"This city is about coming together," Capote told about 100 people who gathered in West Oaks Park for the formal naming of "Angels' Field," a lasting memorial to Lacey, Phillip and Christopher who were killed last month. Their mother, 33-year-old Jessica McCarty, faces three first-degree premeditated murder charges.

West Oaks Park is near the home where the tragedy occurred.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today said the children's family, friends, community leaders and others, many of whom were at Saturday's dedication, are still struggling to understand why the tragedy happened.

It probably can't be explained, Capote said, and it's something no one ever forgets.

"This does not identify Palm Bay," he said. "Palm Bay is a loving community, and that's the reality of Palm Bay."

Stanley Swist, great-grandfather to 5-month-old Christopher Swist, who police said McCarty strangled to death, said he and his family were grateful for the community's support.

"It's emotional, but we're so thankful for the city of Palm Bay and the mayor," Swist said, adding that the children's deaths are a tragedy that will reverberate through his family forever.

"It will always be in your memory, and it will never go away," he said. "You learn to live with it. You have to remember the good things."

Isaac Suarez, who represented a group of people who put together a softball tournament, Heaven's Little Sluggers Benefit last month, presented the Palm Bay West Little League with a $3,000 check at the dedication.

"It's just something we wanted to do to come together as a community to help in the way that we knew how," Suarez said.

"Every bit of this money will go back into this field," said Sal Ferranti, vice president of the Palm Best West Little League.

"We'll try to work on the batting cages, some bleachers for the T-ballers to start their lives. This is what it's about."