Katie Johnson and Alicia Cates were best friends. The women were genuinely fond of one another, and their friendship had an added benefit: The Cates and Johnson families lived next door to each other, and so the two mothers often teamed up when working with the children and their various church and school activities.
One sunny day in early spring, the moms planned a fun outing for the five kids. Katie had two girls, Emilee and Olivia, ages nine and three, respectively. Alicia had two boys and one girl: Trevor was the oldest at age six, followed by four-year-old Justin and two-year-old Brianna. Since school was out for Emilee, Katie and Alicia promised the kids a trip to the candy store at the mall.