MONTICELLO, Ill. WCIA- Officer Chris Oberheim’s daughters said the week before his death, everything was normal.
“I remember spending a lot of time with him and my mom outside. We were landscaping for Avery’s graduation party,” said Hannah Oberheim.
The oldest sister, Hannah, said she just came home from college. “Exactly a week before everything happened,” said Hannah.
Avery was about to graduate high school. After her final softball game, she distinctly remembers choosing to ride home with her dad, instead of piling into the team’s bus with her friends. “For some reason, I don’t know what made me, I was like, ‘No wait don’t go. I want to ride home with you,'” said Avery Oberheim.
And the twins, Addison and Aubree, were finishing up their year of eighth grade. “We were eating food and hanging out,” said Aubree Oberheim. “Our last moments were going on a car ride, that was our thing, going on rides and jamming to music,” said Addison Oberheim.
But that following Wednesday, everything changed.
Amber said she got a loud knock on her door; behind was an officer telling her husband had been shot.
“I sat up very confused in bed and she just looked at me and said, ‘Dad was shot, dad was shot, dad was shot ,’over and over, and she was like ‘I don’t know what to do.’ She was like, ‘I came down here first because you’re the oldest,'” said Hannah.
Avery was the next sister to be alerted to the situation. She’d been sound asleep when she heard her mom open the door. “She said, ‘Avery come downstairs, I need you to be strong for your sisters, dad’s been hurt,'” said Avery.
Aubree said she had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room, so she heard the first knocks on her family’s door and knew something was wrong. “My stomach dropped but the worst thought that came to my mind was he broke his arm or got in a car crash, he’s fine he’ll be fine,” said Aubree.
And Aubree’s twin sister, Addison, woke up to an app notification from their Ring doorbell. When she opened her phone, she saw a man at the door. She was worried, so she did what she would normally do. “My first instinct was to call my dad, because I would just go to my dad, like if something was happening in the middle of the night because I knew that he we would answer and if he wouldn’t, he would text me or call me right back, and he didn’t answer,” said Addison.
The sisters said they waited at home with grandparents while Amber was in the hospital waiting for news on Chris. “I just said, ‘Okay guys, what are we going to do? Let’s pray, I mean we can’t do anything, but we can sit here and pray,'” said Avery.
Amber came home a few hours later without their father. The girls said they knew immediately, it was not good. “It just kind of felt like a knife to the heart,” said Hannah.
They said hearing their father had been killed was their worst nightmare coming true. “I was like ‘How?’ Like ‘This can’t possibly be real. It just felt like nothing was real,” said Aubree. “The first thing I did was turn around and fall into my sister Hannah’s arms,” said Avery.
The girls said everything after that was a blur of pain, confusion and disbelief.
The week was supposed to be joyous, celebrating Avery’s high school graduation with a party with friends and family. “Dad was scrubbing the floors to get ready,” said Hannah.
But it couldn’t have been further from the graduation celebration the Oberheims planned.
Four days later, as a heartbroken Avery prepared to walk across a stage and receive her diploma, a scene she’ll never forget. “I walked outside and there was just a line of officers just lined up down the hall evenly spaced, perfect,” said Avery. Champaign Police officers, trying to fill the shoes left empty.
“I went down the line and told each and every one of them ‘Thank you,'” said Avery.
The overwhelming support did not stop there. People from all over brought flowers, food, gave the twins rides to school and everything in between to make sure they were taken care of. “You realize over time that gap that it leaves, it’s not just all at once,” said Hannah.
For Hannah, it’s a gap in planning the most important day in her life, her wedding. “I actually just asked my uncle Joe to walk me down the aisle for his birthday,” said Hannah.
A task that for years, Hannah assumed would be fulfilled by her father. “I know if there was anybody that my dad would want it would be Joe. Obviously, I wish more than anything he was here.”
A wish shared by Hannah’s three sisters, and the rest of their family.
In a year filled with tears… heartbreak and confusion… there have been moments of joy and thanksgiving… reflecting on small but profound moments they each shared with their dad.
It’s a lesson on treasuring every moment they’re sure their father wouldn’t want them to forget.
“I think he would say ‘You’re doing good, keep going. you’ll see me some day, don’t take this time for granted,” said Avery.