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Oklahoma community mourns young family

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Preacher says he found funeral for mom, four kids "difficult"
  • 300 mourners attended service at Redlands Community College
  • Bodies found January 12 in apartment in El Reno, Oklahoma
  • Woman's boyfriend, Joshua Steven Durcho, admitted choking her, affidavit says
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(CNN) -- Hundreds of people filled a college auditorium Wednesday to pay their last respects to an El Reno, Oklahoma, woman slain along with her four children last week.

Joshua Steven Durcho told a friend he choked Rust but said  the children were elsewhere, an affidavit says.

Summer Rust's children -- clockwise from top, Autumn, Kirsten, Evynn and Teagin -- carve pumpkins.

About 300 people attended the service at Redlands Community College for Summer Rust, 25; her son, Teagin, 4; and daughters Evynn, 3, and Autumn and Kirsten, both 7, CNN affiliate KOCO reported.

Rust's white coffin was placed in front of the podium, flanked by the smaller caskets carrying her children.

Each casket had a picture of the victim, surrounded by flowers. A slide show of the family played on an overhead screen throughout the service.

"I've preached a lot of funerals, but none like this one," said the Rev. Gerald Van Horn.

"This has been on my heart ever since I heard about it. I first learned of it from the news, and I said, 'In El Reno? No way.' ... We don't have to deal with tragedy very often, but it has come, and the reality of it has sunk in. Searching my heart on what to say, I have found it difficult."

He told mourners that God is near and feels their pain but acknowledged that Rust and her children "will be greatly missed."

The bodies were found January 12 in Rust's apartment in El Reno, about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City.

According to the document, each of the victims was suffocated and strangled. Crime scene investigators said each body had ligature marks around the neck.

Rust's boyfriend, Joshua Steven Durcho, 25, admitted choking her to death but said the children were not there at the time, according to an affidavit filed last week.

He was arrested in Hamilton County, Texas, officials said. A spokeswoman at the Canadian County, Oklahoma, Sheriff's Office said Durcho was being held in the county jail after waiving extradition.

Durcho's cousin found Rust's body and called officers, who found the children's bodies in the apartment, says an affidavit written by a special agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

An apparent acquaintance of Durcho's told police he came to her apartment Monday afternoon and told her he had "choked" Summer Rust to death and he was leaving Oklahoma, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit says Durcho told the woman "that the children were at their grandmother's residence ... while he and Summer worked out their relationship problems."

Rust's mother, Susan Rust of Carson City, Nevada, said Durcho was unemployed and had been living with Rust and her children.

Authorities in Texas said Durcho was arrested after a state trooper attempted to stop his car because the trooper suspected that the driver was drunk. When the trooper ran the license plate on the car, it matched the tag number of a vehicle sought by Oklahoma police.

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