OREM, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – “I was sick,” said Misty Wheeler. That was Wheeler’s response when Good4Utah’s Brittany Johnson asked her about her initial reaction after she found out her sister-in-law, SueAnn Sands was shot and killed.
Sands was inside her green Volkswagen Bug when she was chased, shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend James Smith, according to American Fork Police. On Sunday, loved ones gathered in Orem at the City Center Park to remember Sands and to share memories that they had of her.
“I want people to remember Sue for her laughter, for her love of life, for her quirky since of humor, her love of her child Avery and for her love of animals,” expressed Wheeler. “I don’t want her to be remembered for that since-less act of violence.”
“She made everybody laugh when she was around and we went to lots of family gatherings and lots of fun parties and lots of fun things that we did with her,” said Amber Ellison, a friend of Sands. “She will be missed.”
“She was excited this year because she was going to be able to get her daughter Christmas and all that kind of stuff,” Nathan Jenkins, another friend of Sands.
“What do you want people to know about SueAnn?” Good4Utah’s Brittany Johnson asked Jenkins. “How great she was. She was, she’s my angel for sure, she saved me… She pulled me out of a rough spot that I was in, you know what I mean?”
Sunday night’s vigil was held not only to remember Sands, but to also raise awareness for victims of domestic violence. Wheeler said she wants people to get help before it’s too late.
“I just want everyone to come together and realize no matter how bad the situation is, you’re not alone.”
Sands leaves behind an 11-month-old baby girl, who will continue to be looked over by family and friends. Donations are being accepted to help with funeral expenses. Any money left over will go to Sands’ daughter when she turns 18 to help with her education. If you’d like to help, click here.
If you or someone you love is a victim, or believed to be a victim of domestic violence call the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or visit their website www.udvc.org.
For more information you can also visit their offices at 124 South 400 East Suite 300 Salt Lake City UT 84111.