(NEWSER) – Donald and Crystal Howard went out on Halloween to buy more face paint and candy. But the Georgia parents were killed in a car crash near their Morgan County home, leaving a young state trooper with a terrible task: breaking the news to their four kids, ages 6 to 13, NPR reports.
But 24-year-old Trooper Nathan Bradley, who found out it would take their next nearest relative hours to get there, didn't want the kids to find out the tragic news from a stranger; he also wanted to protect the memory of Halloween for them. So instead, he took the children out for burgers, followed by a movie night back at the trooper post, where they were joined by the sheriff and other residents. It wasn't easy. "It was important to me that I would not lie to them," Bradley tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, noting he distracted the kids and changed the subject when their parents were brought up.