Tree of Angels participants remember crime victims
HENDERSON, TX — Julie Anna Sanders was a Christmas baby and her mother, Margaret Sanders, had a chance to remember her at a Tree of Angels ceremony this Christmas.
Margaret Sanders was one of the many people who had lost a loved one to violent crime who participated in the ceremony at the Rusk County Justice Center on Tuesday evening.
Julie Anna Sanders was killed in 2001 at the age of 23. Her killer has been convicted.
“You’ve got to celebrate their lives, which is why I’m grateful for events like this,” Margaret Sanders said. “I was blessed to have her for 23 years.”
Margaret Sanders came to the event with two friends, Sandy Akin and Mandy Fancher, who also have also lost loved ones to violent crime. Akin’s husband, Carl Akin, was killed by a drunk driver in 2008; the drunk driver was also killed in the wreck. Fancher’s boyfriend, Trey LePelley, was murdered in 2005.
“Margaret is a great example of love and compassion,” Fancher said. “We get support from one another.”
Akin said she and her husband found each other relatively late in life, and had been married for only seven years at the time of his death, but they did a lot in those seven years.