Pratt mother dies after fire that killed 4 children

Posted: Updated:
Charee Wheatley (left) and River Wheatley Charee Wheatley (left) and River Wheatley
Courtesy Pratt Tribune Courtesy Pratt Tribune
PRATT, Kan. (KAKE) -

Officials at Via Christi St. Francis say a mother has died two days after a fire that claimed the lives of her four children.

Charee Wheatley died Saturday. She had been on life support since the fire at her Pratt home Thursday morning. 

Investigators continue to search for the cause of the fire. The state fire marshal's office says Wheatley and her four children were trapped in the basement when fire ripped through the two-story home. It could be days before they how the cause.

Charee was on life support at a Wichita hospital on Friday, her family at her side and trying to understand what has turned their lives upside down.

"We are doing as best as we can," said Kristina Morris, Charee's aunt. "Its heartbreaking, it really is, because Charee, she was like the glue of our family, and those babies were everything." 

"We don't want to give Charee up, but will she ever be the same, brain damage or not. If there is no brain damage, she lost her babies. How does a mother cope with that?" said Amy Coates, Charee's great aunt. 

Charee was flown to St. Francis Hospital after her home near 2nd and Austin streets caught fire Thursday morning. By the time firefighters arrived, it was too late to save her four children:  Reece, Timmy, River and Harley.

Coats said, "There are four missing and...its going to be remembering when it was one big happy family, because it is never going to be the same. There is never going to be them there."

Each child was remembered Friday afternoon:  Timmy for his big smile and pretty eyes, River for her ability to be happy through anything, Harley was described as the cutest little baby, and Reece for being your typical American boy with high hopes and a little rambunctious 

GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • WPD investigating home video camera tampering

      A Wichita man isn't happy  after a police officer tampered with his home surveillance camera.

    • Suspect sought in north Wichita shooting

      A woman is in critical condition after a shooting in north Wichita.

    • Michael Golub

      Kansas man still missing after 13 years

      Michael Golub was 27 when he went missing 13 years ago. Golub was on his way to pick up his 5-year-old son at the Stanton County home of Shannon Floyd.

    • South Carolina grocery censors graduation cake

      A South Carolina woman isn't happy a grocery store censored her honor graduate son's cake, which was supposed to include the Latin phrase "Summa Cum Laude."    

    • (Gaston County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Sunday, May 20, 2018, booking photo provided by the Gaston County Sheriff's Office shows Roger Self. Police say that Self intentionally rammed a vehicle into a restaurant shortly after midday Sunday, May 20...

      Pastor: Mental illness drove man to ram car into his family

      Authorities say man intentionally rammed vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with weekend lunch crowd, killing his daughter, another person and injuring several others.
    • 1 critically hurt in north Derby bicycle crash

      One person is critically hurt in an accident on the north side of Derby.

    • (2-20-2017 KAKE) Carl Brewer announces he will run for Kansas Governor at Wichita's Hotel at Old Town.

      Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer has picked another ex-mayor from the state's most populous county as his running mate for the Democratic nomination for governor.    

    • Picture that! Suspect shot by liquor store manager

      A teen who tried to hold up a southeast Wichita liquor store was shot and wounded by the manager of the store Tuesday afternoon. 

    • Kansas teacher retires after 50 years at same school

      A northeast Kansas science teacher is retiring after 50 years at the same high school.  

    • Police officer testifies about "swatting" shooting death

       A California man accused of making a hoax call that led to police shooting an unarmed man in Kansas is returning to court, where a judge is set to decide if there is enough evidence to put him on trial for involuntary manslaughter.