A Santa Barbara couple is caring for a toddler whose young mother died in a horrific car crash.
Last year, Robin Unander-La Berge and Dan La Berge helped 19-year old Daniella Hearn through their non-profit Mothers’ Helpers by giving Hearn some baby items.
The couple never met Hearn, but the young mom kept in contact with the organization on Facebook.
In May, Unander-La Berge noticed Hearn was pleading for help on social media asking for people to babysit Lukas while Hearn worked.
Unander-La Berge reached out to Hearn and offered to help. To Unander-La Berge’s surprise, Hearn accepted.
Lukas continued to stay with the La Berge family more frequently as Hearn’s life began to unravel. In July, Lukas was living with the La Berge family full-time.
The couple came up with a plan to be the toddler’s temporary legal guardians while Hearn got her life together. The agreement was finalized with the courts on August 4th.
Five days later, Hearn was killed after a car she was riding in hit a power pole and slammed into a tree on Cliff Drive. Two other people in the car also died.
The La Berge’s saw Hearn just hours before the fatal crash. Hearn had stopped by their home to visit Lukas who had already fallen asleep. Her friends were waiting outside in the car.
The couple said Hearn looked well and was very upbeat. When the La Berge’s found out about the crash, they were devastated.
The La Berge’s said they understand the responsibility they now have to care for Lukas. The La Berge’s made a promise to Hearn to protect, and to love her son.
The couple is in contact with the toddler’s father who lives out of state and Hearn’s mother who lives in Santa Barbara but is currently unable to care for the child.
A hearing is set for September to make the legal guardianship permanent, until a long-term solution is figured out.
For more information about Mothers’ Helpers click here.