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Community yard sale Saturday to benefit family of slain Charlestown woman

July 17. 2013 10:51PM


CHARLESTOWN — An effort to help the family of a local murder victim is culminating Saturday at the Charlestown Town-wide Yard Sale.

Forty-two-year-old mother and grandmother Kelly Robarge of Happy Acres Road was killed June 27. Her estranged husband, James Robarge, 43, has been charged with her murder.

Kelly Robarge left behind two adult daughters, Gabrielle and Ciera Robarge, and a grandson.

Jamie Katham, 23, and Kayla Coffran, 22, longtime friends of the couple's eldest daughter, Gabrielle, have come together to support the family with a fundraiser at the yard sale.

The three attended Fall Mountain High School in Langdon, graduating in 2008. Kelly Robarge had also attended Fall Mountain, graduating in 1989.

"She's a really good friend of mine and my heart was just breaking for her," Katham said. She said both Robarge sisters have "now just lost both parents at the same time. It's not just Kelly, it's James, too."

So the two friends came up with the idea of holding a bake sale to help raise money for the family, but it has grown into so much more.

People have stepped forward with offers to bake. Those who couldn't bake have donated ingredients.

Local businesses have also donated items to sell, such as books and T-shirts, as well as gift certificates, which will be raffled.

A flat-screen television donated by Walmart is also being raffled Saturday.

The response from the community has been amazing, Katham said.

"It's overwhelming in a good way. Probably the most inspirational and admirable thing I've seen," Katham said. "I've got people I don't even know asking me how they can help."

While bearing the horrific family tragedy, financial hardships have also hit the family. "Kelly had no life insurance," Katham said.

The state has borne some of the funeral costs, Katham said. Kelly, who has been cremated, cannot be buried until the family can afford a burial plot. They also need money for a headstone.

Gabrielle, who relied on her mother to babysit her 1-year-old son, is now struggling to pay for childcare.

And Ciera, who still lived at home with her mother, is now in danger of losing the home.

The family also has five grown German Shepherds that will likely need foster homes if Ciera has to move into an apartment, Katham said.

The Charlestown Town-wide Yard Sale is Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Robarge tent is to be located in front of the Congregational Church on Main Street.

If people don't want to buy anything, they can make a donation.

Donations may also be made to the Kelly Robarge fund at the Connecticut River Bank in Charlestown.

The fund was set up by Kelly Robarge's mother, Carol Hewitt, to help aid in the search and safe return of Robarge after she was reported missing.

After her remains were found in Unity July 6, the fund remained open to help the family pay for funeral costs.

"It's all going towards the family, everything is for a good cause," Katham said.

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