GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio — Days after two families were left devastated by a fire that left an engaged couple and a teenager dead in rural Geauga County, there has been an outpouring of support for the grief-stricken family members.
Alexander Mitchell Sotera, 20, his fiancee, 20-year-old Jordan Weaver, and 16-year-old Joshua Weaver, were killed in the fire, which broke out at the Weaver family home early Saturday morning.
Officials from the Geauga County FIU and Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office are still investigating what might have sparked the deadly blaze. Three other people were injured in the fire but they have since been released from the hospital. The home is a total loss.
“We lost a son. [The Weavers] lost a son and a daughter and a home. They have nothing,” said Jen Reese, Mitch’s mother. “There are no words to describe anything. Right now, we’re all on autopilot doing what we have to do to deal with the situation. I have just been absolutely amazed at all of the support, the messages, the outreach that both Mitchell’s family and Jordan’s family has received.”
Reese remembered her son as a gentle giant, a football star that played on a state championship-winning team whose kind and affable demeanor quickly won people over.
“He was genuine. He was heartfelt and kind. He was perfect,” Reese said. “I can’t say anything there was anything about him that made me disappointed. I was proud of him every single day and I told him that every single day.”
Mitch met Jordan while the two attended Bethany College, a private liberal arts college in Bethany, West Virginia.
After meeting in September 2018, the two quickly fell for one another. Although Mitch loved football and played on the college level, his priorities all changed when he met Jordan, Reese said. Instead of focusing on his football career, he had turned his attention to being a husband and, hopefully, a father.
“She gave him hope. She gave him dreams, support, love, everything that he needed to continue growing as a person,” Reese said. “He couldn’t wait for them to buy their first house and have their first puppy, you know, all those things that we dream about. Yeah, football was important to him, but being a good person, being a good husband, and being a good father, was definitely in his dreams.”
Reese said her phone has been constantly ringing from the untold number of messages, emails, texts and phone calls from well-wishers wanting to offer their emotional and financial support. As of Monday evening, the two GoFundMe pages set up in the victims’ honor have raised a combined $39,000.
“It’s just incredible how everybody has pulled together to help all of us in this horrible, horrible time,” Reese said. "Take advantage of those special moments that are presented to you when they arise because you don’t want to be the person sitting here like I am saying, ‘why didn’t I?'"