Family of Chrissy Williams remembers, searches for answers
March 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM CDT - Updated July 10 at 10:50 AM
ELDORADO, IL (KFVS)
Chrissy Williams' family and friends say it's hard to put into words how much they miss the southern Illinois woman who meant so much to so many.
On Thursday, March 20, special sonar search teams with high-tech equipment found her Williams' car in the river near Hardin County.
She vanished on December 2, and her son, sister, family, friends, and total strangers have been searching ever since.
Now, even as they laid Chrissy to rest, they say they have peace but not true closure. They still don't know how her red Ford Escape ended up in the Ohio River or exactly what happened in the hours before.
As they come to grips with the pain, they share their favorite memories, why they dearly loved this mother, sister, and friend, and why they won't give up until they put all the clues together.
"It's hard," said her mother, Mary Stone. "I thought I would go before her and her sister, Tami. Now I just can't believe she's gone. She had a heart of gold and we loved her dearly."
Stone remembers Chrissy was so proud of her son who just graduated to from the Marine Corps. Stone says she was supposed to attend that graduation a few weeks after she vanished. She says Chrissy was looking forward to it. Of course, we now know she would never make the trip.
"We've told Dusty his mother was so proud of him," said Stone. "He was her everything."
"I just wish I could see her one last time," said Tami Jackson, Williams' sister who never stopped searching on land or water from day one. "I would give anything to talk to her again. The whole time I could feel her pushing me to keep searching. She's my big sister. She would have done the same. Our whole motto was always never give up."
Stone and Chrissy's father Dennis Lampner say she was a god send and now she's their angel.
"I am Chrissy's proud father," said Lampner. "Very proud. I want people to remember what a good person she was and how much she loved life. Nobody at this table here will stop until we find out what happened."
Williams' mother, father and sister gathered along with Chrissy's aunt, step-mother, son, his father, and her best friend.
"I prayed they would find her," said Valerie Ashby. "I hope she knows how much I loved her. It breaks my heart."
Dustin's father, Doug Williams said while they work to honor Chrissy, he is also on a quest to discover what led to her death.
"This was hard on him," said Doug Williams. "He just graduated from the Marines, and then to have to take that phone call that his mother was missing. It's been tough on him and we're going to find out what happened. Chrissy was a wonderful mother. Dustin meant the world to her."
They say they will work to find ways in the community to keep her memory alive. In every picture of Chrissy her loved ones say she was even more genuine than her brilliant smile. They remember her big eyes and the love she so easily shared.
"She was a wonderful person," said aunt Hazel Potts. "When they pulled her car out white birds flew over and this burden lifted. It was like she was saying I'm at peace now. But we still want to know more about what happened."
"My phone has a tendency to do funny things and it keeps saying she's calling," said sister Tami Jackson. "It's one of the things that keeps us going, but we will not stop."
Williams was last seen leaving a home in Rosiclare. Since then, family members and investigators have been trying to piece together what happened that December night.
"It's been three and a half months of stress," said Potts.
A faithful family, they say they know Chrissy is watching from heaven.
"Her grandmother who is almost 84 years old wanted us to share that she had a dream Chrissy was in heaven looking for rooster eggs with grandpa," Carmen Lampner, Chrissy's step-mother said with a smile as she recalled an old inside family joke. "We know she's shining on us."
The family wears matching necklaces or dog tags with a picture of Chrissy on them right on their hearts. They say there, Chrissy will live forever.
"I know she's at peace," said Stone. "We all loved her so much. Every one who knew her, loved her."
The investigation continues. It could be another two weeks before the coroner releases autopsy results because they're also waiting for toxicology reports.
Meanwhile, donations can be made to the "Hope for Chrissy" fund at Legence Bank locations in southern Illinois.