Jessica Rekos, 6, "loved everything about horses," her family said in a statement. "She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses. We had promised her she could have her very own horse when she turned 10. She asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat. She was a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane. She spent time writing in her journals, making up stories, and doing 'research' on orca whales - one of her passions after seeing the movie 'Free Willy' last year. She said her dream was to see a real orca. Thankfully her dream was realized in October when she went to SeaWorld.
"Jessica was our first born. She started our family, and she was our rock. She had an answer for everything, she didn't miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time. We called her our little CEO for the way she carefully thought out and planned everything. We cannot imagine our life without her.
"We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can't play with his best friend. We are devastated, and our hearts are with the other families who are grieving as we are."