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  • Renée C. Byer / Bee file, 2012

    Don Hatfield watches golf on television last year at his Napa home with his grandson Alex, then 9 months old. Hatfield won a fight for guardianship of Alex and two other children of his daughter, who had been stabbed to death. Bee photographer Renée C. Byer received a national journalism award for her series of photographs on Hatfield's legal struggle.

  • Renée C. Byer

Bee photographer Byer wins national prize

Published: Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Sunday, Jun. 30, 2013 - 9:15 am

Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism has honored Sacramento Bee photographer Renée C. Byer for her series of pictures of a man struggling to gain guardianship of his three grandchildren after the deaths of his wife and daughter.

Byer, a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner, received the runner-up award in photojournalism for "A Grandfather's Sorrow and Love." Her photographs accompanied stories by Bee reporter Cynthia Hubert that focused on impressionist painter Don Hatfield whose wife, Janey, died of cancer.

While grieving her death, Hatfield learned that his daughter Rachel had been stabbed to death at her Cameron Park home, allegedly by her husband. Hatfield eventually won guardianship of Rachel's children, ages 9 months, 2 and 4.

A Casey news release noted that the emotion-filled photographic package showed "someone struggling to cope with unexpected, life-altering events and the challenges facing older adults who must raise their grandchildren."

First place went to April Saul of the Philadelphia Inquirer for her photographs of Camden, N.J.

The Casey Medals honor the past year's best reporting on children, youths and families in the United States. The work of hundreds of reporters, editors, photographers and producers was entered.

The Casey Medals are a project of the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079. Follow him on Twitter @Lindelofnews.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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