Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007

Dozens donate to orphaned twins’ fund

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The community came out Tuesday to support 3-year-old twin girls whose parents died in a murder-suicide in Eaglehead at Lake Linganore in October.

Harper and Quinn McMahon, twin daughters of the late Sean and Marijke Sherwood McMahon, were the beneficiaries of a fundraiser hosted by family and friends at the Greene Turtle restaurant in downtown Frederick on Tuesday.

Organizer Mike Muren, a friend of the family with experience in charity and political action events, helped to set up the fundraiser. Muren said the restaurant had promised 10 percent of its sales for the day to the McMahon Children Assistance Fund, a trust fund established in the girls’ names.

Muren had been looking for a restaurant to host a fundraiser for the girls in downtown Frederick, and the Greene Turtle was the first to respond. He said the restaurant will occasionally offer slower nights to similar events, and he was able to reserve it for Tuesday.

He estimated a few hundred people had come through the restaurant in support of the twins throughout the day. At 6:30 p.m., the crowd was still strong.

‘‘It’s been an all-day affair,” said the twins’ grandfather, Bill Morris. He was pleased that his granddaughters had the support of so many members of the community following the tragic deaths of their parents.

‘‘I appreciate everybody turning out and helping out,” he said.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that Sean P. McMahon, 30, murdered his wife, Marijke Sherwood McMahon, 26, then set a fire that destroyed the couple’s Harbor Light Way townhouse, before hanging himself on Oct. 25.

The cause of Marijke McMahon’s death was determined to be blunt-force trauma to the head and asphyxiation.

Frederick County court records indicate that Marijke McMahon had filed for divorce on Oct. 3.

The children were not at home at the time of the fire.

Morris was surprised at the way the twins had rebounded from the tragedy, and said they were doing remarkably well considering what they had been through.

‘‘They are beautiful, vibrant and full of energy,” he said.

Frannie Sherwood, Marijke Sherwood McMahon’s mother, was also grateful for the steady crowd that contributed to the assistance fund Tuesday. She said one of the servers at the Greene Turtle called the event the second-busiest day since the restaurant opened.

‘‘I am so grateful for this community. ... The support is unbelievable,” Sherwood said.

Sherwood lives in Eaglehead, two doors down from where the twins and their parents lived. Natalie Morris, Marijke Sherwood McMahon’s sister, has been caring for the twins since their parents’ deaths. She had been a second-grade teacher in Baltimore County until late October. After her sister’s death, Natalie Morris resigned her position and became the children’s caretaker. She said that the girls have been doing well.

‘‘Children are very resilient. They have a lot of love and support around them,” she said.

The McMahon Children Assistance Fund is a trust fund established in the girls’ name to help support them through college and other expenses.

For more information visit the fund’s Web site at