SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – After the tragic loss of her youngest daughter, a Utah mother is encouraging other parents to “give their kids extra love.”
“It’s not something I would even wish on my worst enemy, to lose a child,” Shawna Bagshaw told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson, during an exclusive on-camera interview.
Her daughter Baleigh,15, was murdered by Shaun French, 26, according to Salt Lake City Police. Investigators say French previously lived with the Bagshaw family and had a sexual relationship with Baleigh.
Police say on May 7, 2018, Baleigh was murdered in her home while on the phone with her mother, shortly after coming home from school.
“It’s been a long 18 months,” said Shawna.
“What was Baleigh like?” asked Johnson.
“Very spunky and full of life and she already had her dreams of what she wanted to do with her future,” Shawna replied, with a smile on her face.
Baleigh’s dreams included joining the military and also training service animals. They’re dreams Shawna will never get to see her daughter fulfill.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster. Just a lot of sadness.”
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her, or wish I could have done something different. I wish I could have gone back and repeated — had a do-over type thing, but I can’t. I can’t change the past. But all of us miss her terribly bad.”
The next hurdle the Bagshaw family will have to face is the trial of Baleigh’s killer. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced on Thursday that he is seeking the death penalty.
“This was his decision and I support it 100-percent,” Shawna replied when asked how she felt about Gill’s decision.
As part of her grieving process, Shawna encourages parents to have an open dialogue with their children.
“There were signs that something was going on that I didn’t pick up on. I drive for Uber and Lyft and I get a lot of parents. I talk to them about my daughter’s story. One of the things that I emphasize with parents of teenagers, especially girls, is to take their cell phones and know all their passwords. Know who they’re chatting with. They may not like you or appreciate you doing that. But if you can prevent something from happening, then someday in the future they will thank you.”
Shawna hopes sharing Baleigh’s story will help save lives.
“If I can help save the life of one child, then Baleigh’s life wasn’t in vain.”
You can listen to more of the interview with Shawna and her husband, below.
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