Kind, caring, charismatic, athletic, loving, loyal to family
Her mother, Shawn, described Candice as caring and determined with “the spirit of 10 wild horses.” A positive thinker, she valued family, honesty, hard work, and freedom. She was very protective of her three younger siblings, especially her brother with cerebral palsy. She worked diligently to overcome her learning disability and never gave up. An athlete, Candice was an all-star pitcher, passionate about softball, and earned a scholarship to San Diego State.
When Candice was young, her mother’s abusive boyfriend kidnapped her and held her hostage. It created a mistrust of men and left other traumatic scars. Until her mother became stable in her own recovery, life was chaotic. “Candice thought chaos was normal,” her mother said. After a move to Texas, where things were quiet and comfortable, Candice didn’t know what to do. She was used to turmoil. She also struggled with her identity and not knowing her biological father.
On the day of 9/11 she was 15 and high. She stole her stepfather’s van and smashed it into a blockade at the Naval Base. Because of the happenings of the day, they were on high alert and thought she was a terrorist. They were shooting at her, but fortunately, she was not hit. She went to the Girls Rehabilitation Facility, where her mental health issues became worse. She started hearing voices and was prescribed Thorazine. At 17, they transferred her to a group home.
Candice graduated from high school but soon ran away from home. She was on probation. During a visit home, there was a family altercation and the police were called. Though Candice admitted to doing methamphetamines, no drugs were found and the police left. Later that night, Candice was arrested in a stolen vehicle with a parolee-at-large. He told her to hide his drugs, and she swallowed two bags of methamphetamine.
While in the sobering cell at the police department Candice called for help, saying she was sick. They told her not to hit the button unless she was dying. She was dying. She struggled for seven days in the hospital as her organs failed. Her family and extended family camped out in the hospital the entire time.
Shawn was pregnant with the fourth of Candice’s younger siblings at the time of Candice’s death and went into a deep depression for a long time. “Candice didn’t plan to die,” her mom said. “She had been to Bible study and believed that God would forgive her sins. She was planning on going to college and having a big life.”
A few years later, Shawn went to college and became a drug and alcohol counselor. She opened Candice’s House to help kids with severe behaviors and mental health issues. When COVID hit, she changed paths. “I get up in the morning and live my life to honor Candice,” her mother said. She now runs support groups and speaks out about addiction and drugs. “Candice didn’t know why she was doing drugs, or why she felt angry so much of the time,” Shawn stated. “If you don’t deal with the trauma in your life, no matter how many steps you do, it will kick you in the ass.” Candice wanted to be a nurse and work with disabled children. “Addiction has no boundaries,” Shawn stated. “One mistake can kill you. Don’t do it, it is not worth your life.”
Candice’s mother, Shawn Norton, provided the information for this narrative.
May 7, 1986-February 15, 2005
Age 18-Lived with the disease of addiction for three years.