By Dan Spalding
WARSAW — Family members of stabbing victim Matthew Lucas have canceled plans for visitation after an outbreak of COVID-19 within the family.
Plans had been in the works for a public visitation for the 42-year-old father of two who died from stab wounds in the attack on the morning of Dec. 15 in the home he shared with his parents on Westside Drive near Fox Farm Road.
Matthew Lucas’ girlfriend, Vickie Wooldridge, 42, of Nappanee, was apprehended hours later west of the crime scene. She’s accused of killing Matthew and injuring both of his parents, Diane and Bill Burr.
Matthew’s brother, Michael, 46, said Monday they were expecting a large turnout for visitation for the lifetime Warsaw resident, but it has been canceled after six people in or close to the Lucas family tested positive for COVID-19.
At the least, they hoped to have 50 people under existing COVID-19 precautions, but that had to be scrapped.
Michael Lucas, who lives in Kentucky, said that late last week, an uncle and aunt started feeling ill. They along with Diane Burr tested positive.
He said they then learned that a cousin, along with his youngest son and his girlfriend, tested positive.
He said a few had some mild symptoms, but all six are resting and staying secluded.
Visitation had been planned for Tuesday. The obituary for Lucas was updated, saying visitation and the funeral service have been postponed due to some family members contracting COVID-19.
Earlier this year, the family had to hold off on services for a grandmother because of the pandemic.
Michael said he thinks the delay in celebrating Matt’s life makes it more difficult to grieve.
“That’s going to be a little more difficult for those who won’t be able to attend. But that’s why we want to plan a celebration of life like we did for Mildred, my grandma,” he said.
The current plan is to have a celebration of life later, “hopefully when this COVID crisis clears up.”
On the day of the attack, their mother suffered superficial wounds and was released from a hospital later that day. Bill Burr suffered several injuries and was released from a Fort Wayne hospital Monday, Dec. 18.
Michael said he didn’t know the circumstances of what led to the attack.
He said he believes his brother and Wooldridge had dated off and on for over a year.
“This was a complete surprise to all of us,” he said.
He said he’s pleasantly surprised at how much money has been raised and how much support they’ve received.
“The outreach from the community, the churches – my church back in Kentucky, my mom’s church here – friend and friends. It’s been amazing,” he said.
The family hopes to raise $20,000 for final expenses. Any remaining monies will be given back to the family to help with medical expenses and for his children. So far about $9,000 has been collected online and at the funeral home.
To donate for Matthew’s final expenses, go to the obituary for Lucas at www.TitusFuneralHome.com.
Michael was upfront about his brother’s past.
“Nobody’s perfect. Everybody knows my brother’s been in trouble here and there, but his heart was as big as anybody I know. He’ll be missed,” he said.