Lacey Gaine’s Friend Speaks Out: Everyone Loved Her
9070. That’s the number of hits you’d get if you Googled “Lacey Gaines”. Almost all are from various blogs and websites. Almost none are from news stories about her murder. A 20-year old mother is savagely murdered, her throat cut, in her own apartment and the news isn’t all over it? She left behind a 2-year old son Conor. When this happened back in December 2009, police told residents not to fear. This was an isolated incident and she likely knew her killer. In other words, yes there is a murderer walking amongst you, but we’re pretty sure cutting Lacey’s throat is all he had in mind. Not too reassuring. She lived in the Sunset Lake Apartments in Justice, Illinois, about 25 minutes outside of Chicago. The big question is why she lived there? The answer is because she was being abused. Her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Sanchez repeatedly beat her and at least one time smashed her head through a wall. She couldn’t take it anymore and even though her Aunt Cherry Simpson recommended going to a shelter, Lacey opted to move in with her new boyfriend Juan Valadez who was living at the Sunset Lake Apartments. Juan is the one who found Lacey after she’d been murdered and had a friend call 911 because he couldn’t speak English.
Lacey worked at a restaurant called the Waffle House in Flossmor, Ill. A friend who worked closely with her said this about their first meeting.
“When she first started there you could see the sparkle in her face. The way she glowed, so full of life. She had to stand out…..but with a spotlight! She bragged of the fact she was going to get married to the father of her baby (Daniel Sanchez). How much she loved him. After awhile, Lacey started coming to work very sad. Said she had been arguing with Daniel. Then after a few weeks she started coming to work with black eyes and she said she had bruises up and down her body as well. She didn’t open up to everyone. She had left Daniel and stated that during one of the times Daniel was beating on her that his brother I think even had to get involved because he feared his brother would kill Lacey. Lacey stated that Jimmy (more on him later) had helped her locate an apartment and I knew before that Lacey stated she had even stayed at a shelter. All she wanted to do was move on and start over and fresh and just to be safe. She seemed to be doing better. By now she was dating a man named Juan….she was bragging how good-looking he was…..started showing me all kinds of pictures of him off her phone. She said how wonderful it felt to feel safe with a man again and how much she loved him. After awhile of them dating she came to work very upset. She refused to tell me what was wrong. Then finally at the end of the day she just yelled at me and fell into tears after me constantly asking what was wrong. By the next day she apologized to me and stated she was having problems with Juan. She didn’t go into full detail but something about she discovered he was leading a double life. That he had another girlfriend with kids or something. And she was incredibly hurt.
“During this time I was being very stupid with my life. I had just lost my mom to cancer…and I was barely taking care of myself. I as well was dealing with my son in and out of hospitals due to his bipolar, paranoid schizophrenia, and ADHD. I ended up letting a family member take on my son for a while and I relapsed onto cocaine after I had been clean for over 7 years. Lacey had caught me in the parking lot doing cocaine before work. I was so embarrassed. I offered her some, I know bad move, but Lacey refused it. Then told me how good of a person I was and how I was throwing my life away on that stuff. I begged her to promise not to tell anyone and she did, she told our manager. And like I said they were very close, she even stated to many people how he was paying her bills. I was so mad at Lacey at the time and we stopped talking. One of our mutual friends had told me she didn’t do it to be mean but she did it to open my eyes because she couldn’t handle watching me kill myself. Before I even had the chance to make up with her our other manager Chris had fired her. And her telling on me did open my eyes and I got off of it but our friendship was never the same when she would stop in. I always said I was going to talk to her the next time she came in but never did, how stupid could I have been??? She was so good to me and I let something like her trying to help me break our bond. The next thing I knew I came to work and on our bulletin board there was a newspaper clipping of Lacey’s murder. I instantly fell into tears. Everything then changed. My manager Jimmy went from being the ultimate most wanted boss by everyone because he was so great to being the worst boss possible. Always moody, he started dropping my days and hours. I was hearing all kinds of rumors go on. I regret never being able to tell her I was sorry for being stupid with my life and how much I cherished her friendship. Even though our friendship was only during work hours I still loved her. But she was that kind of person, everyone loved her.
In an upcoming post, more about Jimmy the manager. What is his real name? Why was he paying Lacey’s bills? What happened when his girlfriend found out?
Lacey’s website: http://www.LaceyGaines.com
Posted on December 10, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Domestic Violence, Lacey Gaines and tagged Cold Cases, Daniel Sanchez, Illinois, Justice, Lacey Gaines, Murder, Waffle House. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.