White Co. family gathers peace in fund honoring their daughter - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

White Co. family gathers peace in fund honoring their daughter

Jessica Evans and her boyfriend, Jacob Wheeler, were killed last August while they were on a camping trip in White County, Illinois. Jessica Evans and her boyfriend, Jacob Wheeler, were killed last August while they were on a camping trip in White County, Illinois.
WHITE CO., IL (WFIE) -

Two southern Illinois families are preparing to relive the murders of their children as their suspected killer will stand trial next month. 

37-year-old Danny Coston is accused of the murders of Jessica Evans and her boyfriend, Jacob Wheeler, last August while they were on a camping trip in White County, Illinois.

Jessi's mom, Kris is trying not to think about the pain she'll have to go through during that trial, by focusing on an event aimed to build a scholarship fund in Jessi's honor.

Kris says the Tenderness Tour will finally bring her little girl home. 

"She was a sweetheart. She was very outspoken, very talented, extremely talented. She was an artist. She was a musician," Jessi's mom Kris Suprenant said. 

Jessi's mother and stepfather see Jessi live on through her artwork. Some of it, they say, is unfinished, but speaks volumes about her talent. 

"She could always make you laugh. She was always trying to make me smile. She was one of my best friends. She was my shadow and we were always doing stuff, even when she was little," Kris said.

Her mother wears her class ring to keep her close. But Jessi's family is still looking for closure.

"I'm stuck. There's a grieving process and I'm kind of stuck. Well, she died in a way that is very undignified," Kris said.

A sense of peace they might get from the Jessica Evans is the Legacy Tenderness Tour.

"What it stands for is being against child abuse, being against sexual abuse. She was 17-years-old, she was still a child and take a stand in the world against it," Kris said.

Leading the legacy Tour is Richard Propes, a man who has traveled nearly 4,000 miles by wheelchair to raise money for children's charities. In this case, he will travel 17 miles in Jessi's honor.

"Because she died in Carmi and lived in Norris City, so he's taking her home symbolically," Kris said.

The funds raised from the Tenderness Tour will be used to create a 10-year scholarship fund in Jessi's name. The tour is Labor Day weekend. To learn more and to donate, click here.

Related Stories:

Small town coming together to help family of Jessica Evans
Charges against Coston include aggravated sexual assault, murder
Missing man found dead in Wayne County, suspect arrested
Community remembers young couple as 'happy'

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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