The following letter from the Toone family was read in court prior to sentencing:
We would like to speak today so that the court, and public, understand
our feelings and the ways in which our lives have been altered due to the
actions of Coleman Nocks, Ray Wilson, and Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc.
Nearly two years have passed since we invited Mr. Nocks, a pesticide
professional, to eliminate a health hazard at our home. Mr. Nocks' tragic
ignorance, laziness, and carelessness for the lives of others created a far
more deadly hazard, a hazard which took the lives of our two sweet girls.
If Mr. Nocks had taken just a few minutes to review the instructions on
the Fumitoxin bottle, Rebecca would now be able to go to kindergarten
every day, as she was so very excited to do. If Mr. Nocks had given us a
copy of the MSDS product information sheet, Rachel would now be
speaking in complete sentences. Because of his complete disregard for
his position as a 'professional' pesticide applicator, we will never be able
to see our two sweet daughters grow, graduate from college, get married,
or have children of their own.
What happened to Rebecca and Rachel was, obviously, not intentional.
And, we have feelings of compassion towards Mr. Nocks, for we know
this is a terrible burden for him to bear. We have heard that Mr. Nocks
suffered the death of a son years ago, so he knows somewhat of our
pain. Nonetheless, the deaths of two young children could easily have
been avoided but for the carelessness and simple laziness of Mr. Nocks.
Sadly, it is not only the actions of Mr. Nocks that led to the deaths of
Becca and Rachel. Through his company, Bugman, Mr. Wilson fostered an
environment which made Mr. Nocks' tragic decisions possible. Mr. Wilson
ran a pest control company that established a culture of irresponsibility,
with a history of multiple and repeated pesticide rule offenses. Bugman
and Mr. Wilson hired an employee who was a willing participant in that
Despite multiple calls to Bugman's offices, asking for advice about the
pesticides, Mr. Wilson claimed to the media that he would have told us
"right away to get out of the house." The truth is that our calls went
unreturned. There were many opportunities for Bugman, Wilson and
Nocks to rectify the situation. Yet, the laziness, carelessness and
recklessness of Wilson and Nocks continued, at the cost of two little girls'
Perhaps nothing was more difficult for us than the increased media
attention in the wake of this tragedy. While we are grateful to the various
news and media outlets, and feel that we were treated with kindness and
respect, it was still very hard to be contacted for statements and
interviews when all we wanted to do was spend time with our family and
attempt to heal. However, by far the hardest thing to deal with was to
hear Mr. Nocks, Mr. Wilson, and Bugman publicly deny their
responsibility, and strive to distance themselves from the situation.
When Mr. Nocks tried to claim that it was carbon monoxide, and not his
own stupid mistakes that killed our two girls, we were heartbroken. We
felt like our efforts to make right had gone completely unnoticed by the
very people that we had tried to forgive. When Mr. Wilson stated that the
"only reason this went down the way it did...was because they [the state]
have got to find someone to lay this on," it was just a slap in the face. It
makes his stated desire that the plea would "bring our family some
closure" seem extremely hollow - as though he only says what he feels
will benefit himself the most at the time.
This and similar statements are so hurtful at a time when we are trying to
deal with our intense grief and profound sadness. While we are glad that
Mr. Nocks and Bugman have finally decided to do the right thing, and
accept responsibility for their actions and inactions, the statements that
they have made, their lack of genuine empathy toward our family, and
their refusal to accept the consequences of their actions are things that
can never be taken back, and have caused additional pain and hardship
during an already difficult time.
Hearing Mr. Nocks and Mr. Wilson accept responsibility for their
mistakes, and plead guilty to the deaths of our daughters, are just a
couple of steps along the healing process for our family. In this world,
there are consequences for the mistakes we make. We do not wish for an
overly harsh punishment, but we agree with the prosecution's choice to
see that justice in the eyes of the law is met. The loss of our two perfect
little brown-eyed girls cannot be ignored.
Nearly two years have passed since the day that Nocks treated our home
and caused the deaths of Rachel and Rebecca. We have had to deal with
their absence each day since. This is not something that we will ever be
able to get "over," rather it is something that we will just have to get
"through." Our lives will never be the same, given that half of our children
were prematurely taken from us that February.
We suffer the consequences of Mr. Nocks' actions every day. Our hearts
are still broken for the loss of our precious daughters. Our grief may not
always be on our faces to be seen, but we carry it with us as a constant
reminder that our lives are no longer the same.
Mr. Nocks met Rebecca the first time he came to our house, and he
commented on what a beautiful little girl she was. The second time he
came to our house, the day he would change our lives forever, he also
met Rachel. He said she was a pretty baby. We are glad that he met
them. We hope that he always remembers their faces. We harbor no ill
will towards Mr. Nocks, but just as we will suffer each day for the rest of
our lives without our daughters, sisters, and friends, it is right that he
know a small piece of that grief.
Although our neighbors, friends, family and faith have helped us
throughout this grieving process, no amount of support can restore the
moments we have lost with Becca and Rachel.
Daily, we miss the little things, like listening to music together and
dancing. We are no longer able to tuck them in at night or read a story
with them. We long to be able to do the little things that "normal"
families can do - such as go see the lights at Temple Square, or have a
picnic on the Fourth of July - without tears. For the rest of our lives,
there will be two empty stockings hanging from the mantle at Christmas
time; two empty Easter baskets; and two Halloween jack o'lanterns left
We are so tired. We are tired of sleepless and tearful nights. We are tired
of missing our girls. We are tired of needing to explain the back story
every time we tell someone how many children we have - and tired of
even needing to figure out what number to give in the first place. We are
tired of the sympathetic looks of pity that people give us once they
realize that we are "those" people.
Our older children, Cassidy and Braden, who were also extremely sick,
have had to deal with concepts, feelings, and situations no adult is
prepared to handle, yet at the ages of 11 and 9 years old, they have been
able to surprise and astonish those around them. When Cassidy had a
homework assignment to write about an event that changed her life, she
didn't get to write about a family vacation to Disneyland - the event that
changed her life was the time she herself almost died, in the emergency
room, on oxygen, when her dad came in to tell her that her sister and
best friend had died.
Every Christmas, birthday, wedding, and outing we will be reminded and
once again miss the joy that those two girls brought. Not many families
cry tears of sadness and longing at the birth of every new child, at every
birthday, on every Thanksgiving and Christmas. We do.
Because of the decisions that Mr. Nocks made, in a moment of laziness,
we get to spend our daughters' birthdays with fond memories, but also
with deep longing and grief. Last Christmas, as we were leaving the
cemetery, we overheard Braden whisper "Merry Christmas" to the girls.
Our hearts just broke! No 8 year old should have to utter those words,
and no parent should have to hear that!
Our youngest son, Connor, will grow up without personally knowing his
two older sisters. They would have loved him so much, and would have
been excellent helpers for their little brother and their mom. We only
hope that Connor is able to feel them nearby, and that he can forge a
strong bond with these two sweet sisters he will not get to know during
It hasn't only been our immediate family that has been affected by this
tragedy. Our girls have loving grandparents, great grandparents, aunts,
uncles, and cousins that miss them daily. Their loss is felt by so many in
our family. Grandfathers have had many sleepless nights. Cousins send
balloons "up to heaven" for Becca and Rachel. Aunts write online
memories of them on nearly a weekly basis.
There are many who cannot understand how we can move on after a blow
such as this. The answer is not to move on or to move past - but rather
to move forward. We have chosen to move forward with our lives. Please
do not mistake our faith in God, or our ability to smile, as a sign that
Coleman Nocks, Ray Wilson, and Bugman have done no wrong or as an
indication that they have not ruined our lives. They took not only the lives
of Rebecca and Rachel, but also took away our life that we had as a happy
family of six.
Our faith, and the strong family ties that we have are how we are able to
find the strength to refuse to let Mr. Nocks and Bugman ruin our NEW life
- the life as a family that will always be missing two little sisters. The life
of a family who chooses to forgive those who wrong us, and who chooses
to honor the memory of Rebecca and Rachel by making the most out of
the life we have left without them.
We have been grateful for the support given by friends, neighbors, and
even complete strangers. It seems that our story has not only affected
our family, but also countless others in our community. Though it will
never make it "worth it," some relief is felt when we hear how the short
lives of our sweet girls impacted others.
We are extremely pleased that the legal proceedings are nearing a close.
This entire process has been a long and drawn-out nightmare that no
one should ever have to endure. While we wish the process could have
gone faster we are truly grateful to those who have sought justice for our
We do, however, feel short-changed by the fact that, although they carry
equivalent weight in the eyes of the law, Coleman Nocks, Ray Wilson, and
Bugman Pest and Lawn are only charged with and pleading guilty to
"Unlawful use of Pesticide" instead of "Negligent HOMICIDE" - the charge
previously levied against Mr. Nocks. A simple change in the name of the
charge does not carry the same weight to people who have proven, in the
past, that they don't care about the consequences of their actions. A
charge of negligent homicide would have carried much more emotional
weight, not only to the defendants, but also to us as the victims.
We wish to reiterate to all those within the court today that the actions of
Mr. Nocks, and the inaction of Mr. Wilson and Bugman Pest and Lawn
DIRECTLY caused the deaths of Rachel and Rebecca, as they have stated
in their guilty pleas. We ask for the court to take this fact into account
when imposing an appropriate sentence. In addition, we would like to
state that although he has consistently tried to distance himself from our
situation, even during his guilty plea, that Mr. Wilson, personally, is
equally responsible for the deaths of our girls, due to his inaction, as well
as the corporate culture he fostered. Bugman had a culture that
rewarded laziness, disregarded rules and regulations, and attempted to
absolve itself of all responsibility.
We are grateful that Mr. Nocks has finally decided to take responsibility
for his actions, and wish the best for him. Mr. Nocks was a licensed
professional, and as such, he had a responsibility to ensure the safety of
his clients. In that responsibility, he failed. We understand that the
choices he made were not malicious, but we also recognize that as a
direct result of his failure to follow directions, failure to think, and most
importantly, failure to act in a manner required by his chosen profession,
we have lost two of the most precious gifts that we have ever been given
- and our lives have been changed forever. We hope that our experience
will serve as a reminder not only to Mr. Nocks, but also to others, that the
decisions we make in our day-to-day lives can and do affect the safety,
health, welfare and lives of others. While we hold no ill will toward Mr.
Nocks, we recognize the need for our society to issue a measure of
justice, both criminal and civil, in an attempt to correct the terrible
mistakes that were made nearly two years ago.
We know we will be reunited with Rebecca and Rachel again. This
knowledge and assurance is the single thing that has allowed us to heal
as much as we have thus far. We hope that as justice is served here, in
this court, we will be able to continue our lives, looking forward to the
time when we can be with our complete family again. Only then will we
truly be made whole.
We thank the court for its time.
Nathan and Brenda Toone and Family
January 6, 2012