Sikeston murder victim's family speaks out

18-year-old Kendra Gray
18-year-old Kendra Gray

By Holly Brantley

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) – A Sikeston teenager's family prepares for her funeral, as another area teen sits behind bars.

Saturday morning, police say 17-year-old Brianna Branson of Miner allegedly ran over 18-year-old Kendra Gray with her truck. Branson now faces second degree murder charges.

It happened in the 900 block of Westview in Sikeston. Police say the teens were at an underage drinking party. Friends and family say it's a tragic event.

"She's always been my best friend," said Erica Lambert of Gray. "She'll always be my best friend no matter how far away she is."

Police say Gray and Branson were fighting. Apparently the fight escalated from the house to the street and ended when Branson allegedly struck gray with her vehicle. Kendra's mother, Carol King, and other family members say they still can't believe she's gone.

"We just have to remember we'll see her again," said Bobby Gray, Kendra Gray's older brother.

"We believe she was trying to use the vehicle to scare her," said Sgt. Jim McMillen of Branson. "Obviously there's a risk involved when you drive at somebody in a vehicle."

Sgt. McMillen says after hitting Gray with her truck, Branson left the scene allegedly to get rid of any alcohol and returned a short time later. He says this is a sad example of why police in Sikeston have no tolerance for underage drinking parties.

"This is our worst nightmare," said Sgt. McMillen.

"She was a great best little sister," said Bobby.

"I just wish I could tell her I love her," said Erica Lambert. Lambert and Bobby are engaged. Lambert says she looked forward to the day her best friend would be family.

"A lot of people will miss her," said Lambert.

The family wants to thank the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for their comfort during the difficult time.

Funeral Arrangements for Gray have been finalized. Visitation will be Monday, at Ponder Funeral Home in Sikeston from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Funeral will be this Tuesday, the 27th at 1:00 p.m.

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