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April 15, 2013
Byer named finalist for Pulitzer prize in Feature Photography

Congratulations to Sacramento Bee photojournalist, Renée C. Byer, who learned today that she was named a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer prize. Byer, already a Pulitzer prize winner in 2007, was one of two finalists in the Feature Photography category.

Byer has more than 25 years experience in photojournalism and has been a staff photographer at The Bee since 2003.

Byer's entry, "A Grandfather's Sorrow and Love," is posted below.

(20 images)




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Don Hatfield, 64, snuggles with Alex Winkler, the youngest of the three children of his daughter Rachel on March 14, 2012. She was killed Feb. 27, 2012, in their Cameron Park, Calif. home; her husband, Todd Winkler, has been charged with her murder. Already suffering from the loss of his beloved wife Janey to cancer, Hatfield filed for custody of the children and had just spent his first night tending to 9-month-old Alex in a new rental home in Napa over the past weekend. "God has kept me strong, and this is my new life. This is what I must do," Hatfield said. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Always within eyesight of his grandchildren, Don Hatfield washes his face and hair in the kitchen sink so he can attend to Alex, 9 months, Ariel, 3, and Eva, 4, as the babysitter arrives on March 21, 2012. Since his daughter's brutal murder and her husband's arrest, Hatfield has filed for custody of the children. A year before, Hatfield, a noted Northern California artist whose Impressionist paintings hang in collections around the world, had been dreaming of a retirement filled with golf dates and world travels with his beloved wife, Janey. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield takes a break while caring for his three grandchildren as his granddaughter, Ariel Winkler, 3, drapes herself over his shoulder in Hatfield's Napa, Calif., home. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield gives his grand daughter Eva, 4, a kiss before heading out to run errands. "I love your dainty dress, " he tells her. The house is filled with flowers in remembrance of the children's mother, Rachel. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield talks on the phone as he checks to make sure a fax has been received. He is checking on healthcare insurance for his three grandchildren. The insurance company is asking for a copy of the death certificate of the children's mother. He cautiously makes an effort not to show any angst or pain in front of his grandchildren. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield takes a moment to study the blank canvas on which he will begin his first painting since his daughter's death in February 2012. Since her death, the noted Impressionist painter has spent the time caring for his three grandchildren, Alex, Ariel and Eva in his Napa, Calif., home. Now, instead of retirement, he has to start painting to financially support his grandchildren. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield changes his grandson Alex's diaper in his Napa, Calif., home on May 3, 2012. By now, Hatfield has become more comfortable with the routine of caring for his three grandchildren. His two granddaughters are enrolled in preschool and ballet and are attending a children's ministry at Grace Church in St. Helena every Sunday. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Eva Winkler, 5, holds two new Hello Kitty lunch boxes as she waits for her grandfather, Don Hatfield, to finish loading her sister Ariel, 3, into the car on April 16, 2012. Hatfield prepared the snacks for his granddaughters' first day at school. "I'm so happy this school is only five minutes away so I can check on them," said Hatfield. He returned to the school at noon to make sure they were okay. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield escorts his two granddaughters Eva, 5, left, and Ariel, 3, center, to their first day at St. John's Lutheran School in Napa, Calif., on April 16, 2012. For the past two and a half months, Hatfield has worked to prove to authorities that he is capable, financially and otherwise, of raising the children. He enrolled them in school, takes them to dance class, medical appointments and reads to them before bed. They are also in therapy to help them handle the loss of their mother. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Ariel Winkler, 3, leans against her grandfather, Don Hatfield, after waking up from her afternoon nap at St. John's Lutheran School on May 3, 2012. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield becomes emotional as he thanks Neilann Martinez of Yountville, Calif., who suffers from polio, for delivering him a specially made meal along with his Yountville newspaper, stickers for his grandchildren and a gift certificate on March 30, 2012. Hatfield used to live in Yountville with his wife, Janey, before she died of cancer in January 2012. Hatfield now lives in Napa where he cares for his three grandchildren after his daughter, Rachel, was killed on Feb. 27, 2012. Napa and Yountville communities are supporting his transition from retirement back to work as an artist and full-time grandfather. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield shares a touching moment with his grandson, Alex. Hatfield was forced in February 2012 to quickly decide he could come out of retirement and care for his three grandchildren. He realized he was more than capable of protecting two confused little girls and a baby boy, who suddenly were without their parents after their mother was killed and their father arrested. He gets out of bed three times in the night to feed a bottle to baby Alex. He changes diapers, cleans up spills, picks up toys, cooks oatmeal and reads bedtime stories to Eva, 4, and Ariel, 3. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield, 64, of Napa, Calif., appears in El Dorado Superior Court in the first step to obtain formal guardianship of his grandchildren, Alex, Ariel and Eva. He has been caring for them since the murder of his daughter, Rachel Winkler, in Cameron Park, allegedly by her husband, Todd Winkler. On Hatfield's 65th birthday in May 2012, he was granted custody of the three children. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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As babysitter Brandy Stanley, 37, center, chats with Frankie Young, left, Eva Winkler, right, peeks in a bag after opening her gifts while celebrating her fifth birthday. Young, who was a good friend of Eva's mom, Rachel, was visiting from Austin, Texas. "I'm hoping we can relocate back to California so I can be closer to Rachel's children," said Young. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Eva Winkler tries to knock down a piñata as she celebrates her fifth birthday dressed as Wendy from "Peter Pan." In support of Winkler's grandfather, Don Hatfield, several fathers along with their daughters attended Eva's party. Hatfield's sons, Caleb and Matthew, also attended the party. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield opens a box of cereal for his granddaughters Eva, 5, right, and Ariel, 3, left, as he readies them for their first day of school before his grandson Alex's babysitter arrives. The day before, Eva celebrated her fifth birthday; her cake and balloons are still on the table. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Eva Winkler, 4, cheers her brother Alex, 10 months, as he learns how to crawl in the hallway of their new home in Napa, Calif. on March 21, 2012. Eva, the oldest of the three children, seems to take on the role of her mother, Rachel, with her younger siblings. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Eva Winkler, 5, gives her grandfather, Don Hatfield, a flower on Mother's Day after she attended a children's ministry program at Grace Church in St. Helena, Calif. Hatfield attends services there and lights a candle for his late wife, Janey, and late daughter, Rachel. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield plays with his grandchildren, Alex, 11 months, and Eva, 5, at their home in Napa, Calif., on March 22, 2012. In May 2012, a mediation session in El Dorado Superior Court granted Hatfield custody of the three children. The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer
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Don Hatfield reflects on the loss of his wife, Janey, and his only daughter, Rachel Winkler, in solitude at his home in Napa, Calif., on Sept. 26, 2012. Janey had given him the inspirational rocks that are scattered in his backyard. She died of cancer in January 2012, and a month later, his daughter Rachel was killed. Her husband, Todd Winkler, has been charged with her murder and remains in the El Dorado County Jail, awaiting trial. Hatfield has custody of his three grandchildren - Eva, 5, Ariel, 3, and Alex, 14 months. "It was quite a year," Hatfield said. "Losing Janey was enough, and then the loss of my daughter was and is horrific. But the intensity of my grief has quieted down a bit and these children have been a gift, " he said. "I wish Rachel could see how wonderful they are. Maybe she does in some mysterious way." The Sacramento Bee / Reéne C. Byer

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