The body of 58-year-old Sandra Burkhardt was found near Crossville, Illinois on Saturday night after she was last seen Friday at the Princeton Walmart.
On Monday, a cake sat in the Burkhardt family's kitchen waiting to be decorated for a birthday party that hasn't happened. A celebration was set for Sunday for Sandy's grandson, Evan, who turned one just last week.
Her family says Sandy was excited, picking up supplies at Walmart on Friday night, where she was last seen.
But those plans have changed, and instead of planning a birthday, Sandy's family is planning a funeral for a woman they say truly made a difference in the lives of everyone she met.
"Usually when people pass away, those are left behind remember them as perfect. She definitely wasn't perfect, but she was just one of those people who was genuinely kind and just very trustworthy. Not having her around anymore is going to be very tough," Sandy's niece, Amber Spurgeon said.
Sandy worked two jobs, one at Walmart and another at the Gibson County Area Rehabilitation Center.
She loved to sing, read, and she spent a lot of time at her church, a place she was a part of for many years. That place now grieving for a face they're going to miss.
"We love her, we miss her, but there are no words to describe how we feel," said Fred Denton, the pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Princeton.
Family and friends are now looking forward, trying to prepare themselves for the court dates yet to come.
"We do want justice for her. We don't want anything like this to happen again, especially by the same person," Spurgeon said.
And for the moments that remind them of a special woman, gone too soon.
"Other people will be able to go on with their lives after they watch this. We'll have to live with this for the rest of our lives," Spurgeon said.
Sandy's family tells 14News that she did not know Thomas Davidson. They believe he may have been staying with one of Sandy's close neighbors. Her family says there was nothing that indicated something like this could happen.
Visitation for Sandra will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home Werry Funeral Home in Poseyville. The funeral will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday at the funeral home with burial in Saulmon Cemetery near Poseyville.
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