An LDS Church News article released on Friday, June 5th, gave an account of the unfortunate car accident that has claimed the life of one missionary and left another in critical condition:
“Two sister missionaries serving in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission were involved in a car accident in Atlanta on May 29, according to Church officials. Sister Natalie Anne Barnard, 20, of Snoqualmie, Washington, was killed and Sister Rachel Beckstrom, 19, of Tooele, Utah, was hospitalized in critical condition. The sister missionaries were hit by a semitrailer truck traveling at 45 mph after trying to make a right turn on a road with limited visibility due to trees, said Sister Beckstrom’s father, Curtis Beckstrom.”
Sister Barnard’s family released a statement reported in the Deseret News that said they are “deeply saddened by the loss of our loving daughter, sister and granddaughter. … Her loving family and all of her friends will miss her larger-than-life smile and the radiance that made her instantly lovable.” An article published by KSL included loving remembrances from family and friends. Her mother, Deborah Barnard, recalled that “One of Natalie’s best qualities was her ability to always put people ahead of her problems. She gave and expressed love with joyful abandon.”
Natalie Anne Barnard’s funeral services were held on Saturday, June 6th, in Bellevue, Washington. Her obituary in The Seattle Times recalled Natalie as being a ‘natural peacemaker’ and a ‘true friend’ who ‘loved being a missionary’.
Sister Rachel Beckstrom remains in a coma, according to reports. Updates are made periodically on a gofundme account set up on behalf of her family. One update from her mother, Kathy, indicates that Rachel’s coma will likely last 2-3 weeks, and that she will be facing 6-12 months of rehabilitation after that. Another update from Kathy says: “We continue to be hopeful and feel good about her progress. We are grateful for everyone’s prayers and expression of love and hope.”
Here at LDS Missionaries, we ask everyone to continue in those prayers and expressions of love and hope for Sister Rachel Beckstrom. We also remember the family of Sister Natalie Anne Barnard in our prayers and in our hearts as they mourn her passing.