Family Update by Julie Merrill

Hi Friends and Family,

My name is Julie Merrill. I am the Lubbock stake Relief Society president. I have had the privilege to be at the hub of all the activity that has gone on in the past 8 days with Nicole Mortensen and her family. Please forward to any who would be interested.
I thought I would send you an update of what is going on with Nic and family beginning from yesterday. I know there have been lots of miracles and things that have happened before then, but I don’t have time to write that book, nor do I have all the details and information.
Nic and her kids are busy trying to sleep, heal, sort through luggage that rolled through the dirt when they landed here.
Currently they are staying in the Voorhies home while they are gone on vacation. What a blessing it is to have Nic and her family all under one roof! They are healing slowly from their injuries; the house is bustling with friends that the kids have made.
Aria has been kept busy with all the other 9 year old girls. She had a new friend Cami Whiting sleep over last night. She’s been going to craft class, playing at people’s houses and is having a blast.
Kenyan has made friends with Jane Whiting, Cami’s older sister. They hit it off well spending most of yesterday together doing fun things, playing board games, craft stuff, etc. Kenyan is slowly but surely improving each day. Her bubbly attitude and smile are contagious. She is the one that is going to take the most time to heal physically.
Jace is keeping busy with Sierra and the teens around Lubbock. They have been swimming, to movies, youth night, and have just been wonderful. Jace has a lot on his mind, but is dealing with it piece by piece. He’s a fine young man. I gave him a hair cut last night. Good looking guy! We took him to the doctor to make sure his leg and foot weren’t broken. They are just bruised and he is healing up just fine.
Bridian got her stitches out of her ear and face; the swelling is going down each day. She has met girls from the singles ward and her nurses from the hospital came last night and took her to dinner.
Nicole is writing Jada’s obituary, sewing Jada’s burial dress, being with her kids, and organizing things for this weekend.
Her neck is in a brace (for about 5 more weeks or so) and she will have follow up appointments in the coming weeks. She is still having residual effects from her concussion and forgets things occasionally. She is not comfortable to take care of all of these details by herself yet (totally understandable) and is doing the best she can with what is on her plate. So if you have called or e-mailed or texted her and she has not responded, please know that she is doing the best she can and she knows you are concerned for her. If she responded to everyone, she would not have the time or energy to do all that she needs to do to prepare for this weekend.
Thank Heaven for our angels Berny, Cathy, Christa, and Val (and her daughter Sierra)! They have all been here at different times to help with the millions of details that have had to be dealt with. What amazing women! We have grown to love them all.
Many thanks to the Madeiras and Evers for all they did when the accident happened. They were amazing. Also many thanks to Nicole’s mom, dad and brother Cody who came and for all their love and support as well. Sister Joey is on her way and Vivian will visit for a couple of days.
This Saturday I will take Joey, Nicole and kids to Amarillo. We will dress Jada’s body and Nicole and the kids will have private family time with Jada and say their goodbyes to her. The mortician has been wonderful and will keep Jada as long as needed until further arrangements need to be made.
After their goodbyes we will be staying with President Vest and his family (Amarillo Stake President) overnight and will attend sacrament meeting with them Sunday morning. After lunch we will head back to Lubbock. Nicole, kids, and friends will stay at Chief (Carl) and Carlene Mortensen’s home. They are distant cousins. Wonderful people. They will stay there as long as needed; our main focus is to make sure Nicole and the kids physical wounds are healing properly. This will take weeks. We will also deal with the emotional/mental part as that comes more to the surface. Our stake president and a member of the high council (Cami and Jane’s Dad) visited a few days ago (both are family therapists) and met the family. Their professional services will be available as needed.
There are no plans in the works right now for Jada’s funeral, burial, or memorial service. That isn’t the focus at the moment. Jada is taken care of and there is no rush. Those things will probably not take place for months. We are focusing on Nicole’s family right now and when God lets Nicole know where she’s supposed to live, settle, and begin her new life, then she will proceed; that decision is between her and God. We will let all of you know what the plan is when she gets her answers. Nicole and her family are in God’s hands; they are in the loving arms of the Lubbock Texas Saints, and every need they have is being taken care of. We will keep you posted---
Thank you for all your love, support, concern, and prayers. They are being felt here and God’s mercy and grace is being poured out upon them. Thank you for sharing your wonderful friends and family with us in Lubbock. We have grown very attached to them and it has been, and will continue to be an honor to serve and love them. They have taught us how to face adversity with dignity, grace, and unwavering faith. We will keep them here as long as God allows!
Feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions, correspondence, requests, etc.


Julie Merrill


  1. I can't stop crying. Even if you didn't believe the church was true it is amazing you could be so loved and cared for in a place so far from home. I love you and your family Bridian and hope that you guys heal soon.

  2. Like Carl, I'm so glad you guys haven't had to be alone. Just wanted you to know I'm still thinking of and praying for all you guys.

  3. I just want go thank everyone for taking care of them. I have been a friend for a long time and this family has always been there to help the south Florida area whenever asked. Thank you for doing what we are unable to do from here. If this is not the area God guides them to, from the care you are giving, it is the next best thing. God bless all for everything. I will always be grateful to the Texas Saints.