DERRY — A local family blindsided by tragedy a week ago has been met with compassion and donations to support two adult-children in need.
Following the murder of Lynn Marie Viana at her estranged husband’s home in Derry, several hundred donors have given $41,000 – and counting – to a fundraising site in her name.
The effort was spearheaded by the 53-year-old woman's brother-in-law, Arthur Brousseau, of Haverhill.
His explanation of the family’s sudden need is raw: “There is no insurance to cover her burial expenses.”
One of Lynn Marie’s adult sons, Thomas Viana, 19, is severely handicapped and requires 24-hour care, Brousseau said. The young man lived with his father, Maneol Viana, who died in a Boston hospital Thursday. Officials announced they had reason to charge him with killing Lynn Marie.
Investigators say the former couple was at Manoel’s 27 Mt. Pleasant St. home the night of Easter, April 4, and that they believe he shot Lynn Marie in the head and set the house on fire during a custody exchange.
Three police officers who arrived first on the scene said worsening fire and smoke conditions only allowed them inside once. They initially spotted Manoel and were able to drag him, unconscious, from the kitchen floor. Lynn Marie was said to be discovered inside later.
According to the GoFundMe page organized by Brousseau, “because the house was burned, all of Thomas's belongings and special equipment have been lost.”
“There are many needs that Thomas has, from medicine to a special iPad to help him with school work, wheelchairs, wheelchair ramps and many other handicap accessible fixtures,” Brousseau wrote. “As well as the essentials of clothing, bed and bedding and ultimately a home.”
The young man is living with his uncle — Brousseau — and aunt in the meantime.
Lynn Marie’s older son, Alex Viana, is a 20-year-old college student. He, too, will be supported by the donations. Lynn Marie’s obituary names a third child – her daughter, Jenna Brisson.
According to Brousseau, “Alex is currently attending college at UMass Lowell and his mother was helping with his expenses.”
He said the family is grateful for the outpouring of support.
The top donor as of Tuesday anonymously gave $5,000. Another who contributed $10 did so with a note: “I hope this small amount helps.”
Others to type well wishes knew Lynn Marie from her native Haverhill, where she graduated from Haverhill High in 1985. She went on to attend Merrimack College in North Andover, according to her obituary.
The remembrance goes on, “Lynn Marie was a devoted mother who cherished her children. With her loving family and friends she loved to celebrate the holidays and celebrate any occasion to get together.”
A mother, sister, aunt and friend, Lynn Marie will be remembered for her adoration of local beaches, big heart, as well as a kind and positive attitude, according to her obituary.
Brousseau added to the online fundraiser after its quick success, “from my family to all of yours, thank you. And remember, we all have each other in this world. Love one another.”