What I Need Most, Someone to Not Let Me Give Up: Lacey Gaines

Lacey Gaines

Two years ago tomorrow, December 7, 2009 a barely 20-year-old mother trying to make a life for herself and her son was brutally murdered in Justice, Illinois. In those 2 years, there remains no justice in Justice. Her killer is still free and could very well be closer than you think. There are so many sad and disturbing elements to Lacey’s story. An abusive boyfriend who beat her to the point she needed to seek out shelters and restraining orders; and a family who essentially turned their backs on her at a time when she needed them most.  This post’s title are words Lacey wrote to her aunt just 10 months before her murder. Cherry Simpson has been trying to find Lacey’s killer since the day it happened. Why is her aunt the only one who is? More on Lacey Gaines in the coming days. You will be shocked.

At some point during this series I need your help lady readers. Why do so many women enter relationships they know will be abusive? Why do so many stay and return to those relationships?

Daniel Sanchez

And on an unrelated note (or is it related?) what’s up with this guy? Like his picture says, IM SCARED too. And I know why.

Lacey’s website: http://www.LaceyGaines.com

Posted on December 6, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Domestic Violence, Lacey Gaines, Murder and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Who would want to kill this beautiful young mother?
    If this community called Justice can’t provide justice, doesn’t the state of Illinois have an obligation to step in and assist in capturing this murderer, who will undoubtedly murder again. If they haven’t already.

  2. HI. I am the editor who wrote the original story about the murder for a weekly newspaper in town. I’d like to talk with you.
    Jim Pluta

  3. http://theslamdunktrove.blogspot.com/2011/12/lacey-gaines-remembered.html

    An anonymous comment from above post looks to be a close friend:

    Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lacey….I am crying so badly right now. I miss you so much. All of the what if’s that wonder through my head….the guilt of the things I could of done and didn’t. How wonderful you were to me. I don’t understand how anyone could hurt anyone as beautiful as you, yet anyone at all. Of all the things including your life that was robbed from you justice shouldn’t be one of them. I will continue to remember you and miss you and pray for your justice. I love you girl!

  4. So very sad for the senseless loss of this beautiful, young girl who left behind a precious son to grow up without her. It is an outrage that murderers walk among us and that our justice system is often apathetic, ineffective and/or criminally negligent at removing them from our midst.
    To Lacey’s beloved auntie I send heartfelt sympathy, love and prayers…may you find comfort in the knowledge God is working and will bring justice for your girl in HIs time.

  5. We’d love to help.
    Silent Ministries Recovery Outreach

  6. This is a very sad story and has forever changed a family. Unfortunately, Cherry has the facts wrong. Her family never turned their backs on her. They were there for her and helped her as much as they could for what they knew about the situation.

    They are still looking for the man that committed this horrible crime and work/communicate closely with the police. It is very sad that someone would make these allegations against a grieving family which no one will ever know what they have truly been through.

    • Thanks Annie. It is a sad story and I want to hear all sides.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more Annie. The thing everyone seems to forget here is that every family has their fights and diagreements. Every family gets mad at each other and reaches out to some one else in a moment of anger…. As Lacey did to her Aunt Cherry. But what no one is seeing here, because no one here knew Lacey on a daily basis, is that Lacey was very close with her family. She loved them all so very much and was grateful to them for all they did for her. She expressed those words to me plenty of times before she passed. Her family did not cause this horrific murder. There is only one person to blame for that….. The murderer. And i know Lacey would not appreciate or want these untrue comments made about her family.

      • It’s my understanding that the title is a quote from the murder victim. I for one don’t view Norm’s words as unkind. The question is who killed her?

  7. This story is a true tragedy; how sad this jerk to murder a mother and her son. When I look at his picture I don’t see the “fear” that was mentioned above, but I do see the raging ego that is showing in his, “I’m the dude” picture. Anway, I reside in Illinois and have the State Domestic Violence Laws downloaded to my desktop because of the advocate work that I do. This man is one of the many offenders that have gotten away with murder because there was no one left to testify against him. If anyone is stuck in this type of situation now, please research Susan Murphy-Milano and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit; it can give you that justice should you be a victim of Intimate Partner Murder!!! Always learn the Domestic Violence Laws in your state and when you reach out to a shelter or to the DA or Social Services, please do so in email form; make them accountable for their actions. Ladies please protect yourselves and your children. I am one of the few, who dealt with and accepted violence against me. It is only by a split second decision on their behalf that the attempt to take my life was stopped and they walked away. Don’t take that chance. Don’t allow them to have that control over your life or death!!! Reach out & Break free!!!

  8. Looking forward to your coverage. Very sad.

  9. I have stayed silent to these types of ignorant posts long enough. I am Lacey’s mother and I am outraged that anyone on the date of her death with no true knowledge of our family would allege that her family turned their backs on her. This is not just untrue but a cruel and slanderous act.

    We loved Lacey with all our hearts. We supported her as much as she allowed us to. We tried to get her to stay home and let us help her when we discovered she was pregnant. After her child was born, we helped her financially and provided childcare for our grandson. When we discovered there was abuse in her relationship, we asked her to move back home for her protection and to receive help. She chose however to run off with another man who tried to isolate her from us. We continued to provide primary childcare for her son, providing him with anything he needed. The only thing we denied her was financial help for the rent of the Justice apartment, because we did not want her to stay there with that man and therefore would not contribute towards it. We also never, never had her emancipated for financial reasons as was previously stated by some ignorant blogger. On the contrary, during that time we continued to provide her with a car and all her necessities. The only thing we did when we found out her pregnancy was not covered by our insurance was to get her coverage through the State of IL and paid the necessary premium until she turned 18. As she was 18 when the baby was born, we had no legal control and she was free to make her own choices. We had to do the best we could to maintain contact with her.

    Yes, we did argue with her about her situation. Because we were frightened by her choices and feared for her safety and our grandsons. But even though we would argue and cry and yell at times, we would always talk again the next day. We never went more than a few days without talking. We were constantly in contact with her. In fact, the night before her death we talked and she spoke of how much she wanted to come home (which was planned to happen within the next two weeks) and move back to the house we had bought for her and her son to move in to. She acknowledged that she had made some bad choices but knew she could always come home.

    Is that abandonment? Is that a family who would not have laid their lives down to protect her? You do not know us, how could you be so cruel and unjust?

    My sister-in-law Cherry loved Lacey. But she had not seen her in two years. She bases her views on a few phone calls with her. Perhaps when Lacey was unhappy with my views she made is sound like she was alone, but she most certainly was not. We have gone to the Justice apartment complex multiple times along with Cook County Crime Stoppers. We have canvassed the over 600 apartments and surrounding businesses and passed out hundreds of fliers offering a reward. We held a candlelight vigil at the one year anniversary and invited the press who never showed. Just because we have not spoken out publicly does not mean that we are not doing everything possible to find her killer. It is our daily prayer. We have chosen to follow the advise of the two lead detectives and act accordingly. They are at the forefront of this effort, so who else should we follow? I am sorry if I have not acted according to Cherry’s or any other interested parties wishes. But it was not their child who was killed. It is not their family that is broken. Do not tell me how to react, how to feel, what to do. You are not in this nightmare, We are.

    This is a solid loving family. Lacey left behind two parents who have dedicated all their efforts to their three children. She left two brothers who loved her and struggled in every way to help her. She left two Grandmothers who adored her, one who was a caregiver to her son. She left many friends and family who loved and cared for her. And most importantly she left behind a little boy whom she loved more than anything. Every untrue word has the potential to hurt that boy as he grows. So speak wisely and think of those who are most at risk here.

    Gilda Gaines

    • U know Gilda let me say I am a very close friend of Laceys. I watched her struggle with her piece of work for a husband as well as u! I have never said anything because yes there are always 2 sides to a story! Lacey went through an everyday struggle because of her relationship with Daniel and her relationship with you. She loved her father so much even though she felt like he sided with Daniel and didn’t care about her getting beat and strangled every other day. He helped her out a lot though I will say with car repairs, housing, money etc! I believe he tried to be a good father but out of Laceys own mouth u wouldn’t let them have a good relationship. Yes kids especially girls have a tornado of a relationship with their mother’s. I have been next to her during phone conversations with you and seen her cry and heard what was said. I always told her I thought she was exaggerating about the way you were her whole life! Until I heard you on speaker when she was crying telling you about Daniel and how she wanted to take Connor and hide because she was scared for her life u said what did u do to provoke him this time? My mouth dropped and I cried with her because I too have a mother who wanted to hide the screwed up daughter from her friends and try to blame me for all the problems I endured. She told me when I was raped at 13, I must of Been prostituting and I felt the way Lacey felt with u. From that day I stopped sticking up for u. I believe when u say Lacey had good phone calls with u and bad! All of us do. But don’t lie to yourself because ur relationship was broken with her. Don’t bash Cherry because she says what Lacey told her, me and the rest of Lacey friends! Cherry has tried to move mountains to find Laceys killer or killers! U stopped with the justice police dept! As a mother myself I would be out everyday driving the FBI, police, public, media etc crazy with my persistence. U know what I don’t understand is how the Hell u can think for one second that Connor is safe with Daniel! I don’t care if he passed 20 lie detector tests he is hiding something! He beat and strangled and at times forced her to have sex with him over and over again. This is why she ran to juan who u say kept her from u. She was able to go anywhere. She came to my home many times without him. She could of went to you! Juan was so tied of the threats from Daniel that he went to California to give Lacey the chance to sort out her life with her parents, Daniel etc! She was miserable. She in front of me would cry and beg him to come back which he did! Now of course no relationship is perfect! But he didn’t beat her or alienate her. I don’t know what Lacey was telling you over phone calls but it sounds like it was something way different from what was said to everyone else! I wouldn’t speak up if I didn’t witness it! Now I don’t know what your deal is with cherry but I personally believe she is an Angel. Lacey loved her and her grandmother very very much! She talked to cherry much more then you know and for everyone in ur family to cut her off is downright pathetic! Her voice is the only one I hear! Reporters contact me via cherry not u! Media, blogs, articles are still circulating because of her! And I am so glad Lacey has her to speak for her! I struggled to write this because it kills me that everyone else gave up on finding justice! The police dept have said Lacey parents no longer want an investigation. Justice police also gave up. That sounds fishy to me! There are other ways to bring this case to light and if you don’t start helping cherry instead of bashing her then u should be ashamed of yourself! I also have to say Lacey loved all of you very much! Her dad, cherry, grandparents, u, her brother’s! It just saddens me that u were the way you were with her. And is only u. Noone else! Gilda I am in no way trying to disrespect u. But all bull aside before u get angry with others speaking out on Laceys behalf look at it from all directions! There’s 2 sides. U spoke urs and others are speaking laceys because it’s what we knew and witnessed! I pray to god there is justice served weather it be now or ten years from now! It will come out! U won’t like what I have said and this is not a debate! I have nothing more to say butt will help anyone trying to do something about this tragedy! God bless u and ur family and Connor! I never want to feel the pain of losing a child ! Death is horrible and I’ve lost many!

      • I do not have words to describe how untrue and morally wrong this entire comment is. Gilda was a wonderful mother to Lacey who did everything she possibly could for her daughter and still does to this day. Responding any more to any of these posts is pointless. I will no longer be visting this site full of lies anymore.

      • I will say this, friend… You are very very sadly mistaken about the kind of person and mother Jill was and stil is to Lacey. I grew up with Lacey, called her my sister, and Jill my Mother- I know what kind of Mother she is, and its the polar opposite of the one you discribed above. I don’t know if you’re a Mother or not, but I pray that you are NEVER EVER in the shoes of the Gaines family, ever. Passing judgement on a family that you know NOTHING about is the utmost disrespectful thing ever. Especially when that family is is doing MORE THAN YOU KNOW to find who did this to their baby girl. So, with all do respect, even though you do not deserve it, shut your mouth and keep your snide comments to yourself.

      • It took real courage to say what you did. Norm said it best when he said back on track” Lacey Gaine Murder. That’s what the focus is. Don’t listen to anyone telling you to shut your mouth – that’s been the mantra for the last 2 yrs. WHY? Lacey is depending on her friends to TALK. Her real friends that is.

      • Like I said in my post I am not trying to bash her! There r 2 sides to stories! I’m sure when u his were kids what ur saying is true! I’m speaking of the last few years. What I witnessed! What I saw. What I heard myself in phone conversations. Lacey had a whole different crowd of friends separate from the friends she had in school. I spoke up because Lacey aunt really didn’t say anything bad. She is speaking like I am from experience. Lacey wrote her letters, called her etc! Joe would cherry know any other side when her whole family for her off! Have any of you friends seen what cherry is doing? Read what she is doing? She is going through all channels to find justice! Like cherry, myself and a few other friends of laceys we are only speaking what we witnessed or heard out of laceys mouth. I loved Lacey verymuch and fighting won’t bring her back! Hopefully all parties will try and get together to bring laceys whole family justice especially Connor! He will suffer more then anyone! Especially having the father he does! I pray that if authorities don’t get him God will! Also these or the one who took her life! So again if u friends know Lacey you know she had separate groups of friends that she didn’t know from her town but equally loved her.

      • Honey I grew up with Lacey and was with her to the end… I am done wasting my time on these mallicious posts about her family. I’d hope you’d gain a little respect and realize how hurtful and false your claims are against a family you know nothing about. You say you want to see both sides- then open your brain and re-read Mrs. Gaines post.. there is her side. Listen to it.

  10. This story isn’t about the people left behind, it is about Lacey. There is not much worse you can do to a child than has already been done by murder. Let’s hope that the perpetrator has not already taken some other child’s mother.

    • There is plenty worse that you can do to a child who lost his mother already! As Conor grows up he will have to learn of what happened to his mother and he will have to deal with that and on top of dealing with the fact that he doesn’t have a mother when he googles her namehe will be subjected to read all these terrible and untrue statements about his family. How do u think that is going to affect them? I can guareentee you it will Continue to add pain to his life and hurt him even worse! You didn’t know Lacey. You didnt know her family. And you surely were not there for a front row view of everything that went down. You people have no right to make these comments or to judge anyone. As God fearing people you should take a moment to reflect on how ungodly like all of ur actions and comments are. One day the man who did this to Lacey will be brought to justice and i promise you that it will not be because of one thing any of you did. Leave this family alone to grieve and thank God it wasn’t your daughter who was unjustly taken from you and you do not have to deal with iggnorant people urself.

      • I don’t think anyone on this blog is judging anyone – accept you.
        They are trying to assist Barney Fife and the Justice Police Department. I for one have checked these guys out. They couldn’t find the toll road right next to their police station. So if the mother is putting her hopes in them – the strip mall cops – in finding the person who murdered her daughter and getting him off the street before he murders again. Then I would suggest that they and she takes all the help they can get.
        I question how can anyone put all their faith of their daughters murder being solved in the hands of that tiny department, unless you don’t care if it’s solved at all.
        I for one would rather have grown up knowing that everything was done to find who killed my mother. Because if they didn’t I would have grown up and hunted that person down myself. The least of my concerns would have been whether my mother was perfect or not. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, but I feel the mistake of hiding behind the Justice Illinois Police Department is a GIANT mistake.

      • How can you say none of us knew Lacey? We were the ones wiping her tears away after she was beaten…..we were the ones trying to help her find somewhere safe to go when her mother clearly stated to her that she made her bed and she had to lye in it. If you knew her like you say and was there til the end then you tell me why did lacey have to go to a shelter after she begged her mom to come home? And there are about a good ten people I know off hand who can back that up because they witnessed the phone calls to her mother. I’m not saying I knew Lacey as a kid because I didn’t, but we knew her for the few years before she died. And yes, we all are a little upset knowing she begged and begged for her mothers help and was turned down and now we have to see what the outcome of that was. So excuse the fact we are hurting and in pain as well. I’m very tired of seeing people on here claiming we were nobody’s in Lacey’s life when in fact Lacey couldn’t tell us enough how she loved us. It was us she talked with amongst others, and if you were there until the end then you should know the truth of what Daniel put her through, and you should know that Lacey was in a shelter for awhile and know the reasons why she was there instead of at home with her mother. You should also know that Lacey had many friends and not just one. That was a little uncalled for. We can’t help that we want to put it out there exactly what all we know. And knowing EVERYTHING about Lacey….even the smallest detail could help. I will keep my other opinions to myself but please know we are not lying…….why else would so many people say the same things about her mother…..we can’t all be lying! THere are always 2 sides, and I have read what Mrs. Gaines wrote and like I said, if she did EVERYTHING she could of, why was Lacey on the streets and had to turn to a shelter??? All while Daniel got to live in the home her mother helped get? Why would her mother continue to pay for a mans phone bill who had beaten her daughter? If that is doing EVERYTHING…..ALL I GOT TO SAY IS WOW!

      • @Hank,

        I grew up in Justice, Illinois until I was about 7. I can remember us moving abruptly and asking my mom why because I didn’t want to leave my friends. I was told by my mom who was practically saint mind you, didn’t do hardly anything but try to be the best mom should possibly be. Down to ironed bed sheets you name it. Anyhow, all she told me then was the Justice Police were corrupt and it wasn’t safe there for us. So we moved to a better neighborhood. I don’t know what her reasons were because at age 7 my mom didn’t discuss grown up things with me and I wish more than anything I could ask her right now, but unfortunately she was taken shortly before Lacey was due to cancer. I said the EXACT same thing shortly after Lacey’s murder but I’m just a nobody who gets told I didn’t know her. Although I seen her almost on a daily basis. But again, I don’t know anything or Lacey. Kind of hurtful! I have ALOT of insight on this case and I have given up EVERYTHING I know from the get go in hopes justice will be served and closure can take place. Do you know the Police Department turned down a free billboard and they also turned unsolved mysteries away who wanted to do a story on TV for Lacey? Look at all the cases they have brought justice to….but yet they are doing everything they can right? Just like they did everything they could for me too…..I wouldn’t step foot in that town if my life depended on it!

  11. This story isn’t about the people left behind, it is about Lacey.

    There is not much worse you can do do a child than has already been done by murder.

    Let’s hope that the perpetrator has not already taken some other child’s mother.

  12. Has a reward been offered by PD?
    Silent Ministries Recovery Outreach

    • Crime Stoppers did a $1000 and Max Cannon did $2000. I read on the internet Justice police told family to save their money and turned down a free billboard also.

  13. I too am ANOTHER friend of Lacey’s…..who was VERY close to her. I TOO witnessed her crying on the phone with her mother after I talked her into calling her mother for help. Lacey loved her family very much and she did state that but she also couldn’t stress more to the fact that her mother was extremely jealous and put a damper on a closer relationship between Lacey and her father. After Lacey got off the phone with her mother she stated to me that her mother basically told Lacey that she had made her bed and now Lacey had to lye in it. Basically meaning that Lacey couldn’t go home. And I really don’t believe for a second about Lacey moving home because if she was really going to move home why the 2 week wait? I’m not trying to bash any mother who lost her daughter because I couldn’t imagine losing mine, but what I think is going on here is the fact Lacey is gone so she can’t defend herself here. Anyone can say they were there for her. Just one question to Jessica….if her mother would do anything for her….did that mean paying for a phone for daniel who beat her daughter and allowing him to live in the house they helped her daughter get after she moved out of it to seek safety? And if her mother wanted to help so much why didn’t she allow Lacey to come home like Lacey asked to? WHy did Lacey have to go to a shelter instead? And as far as I know about Juan, they had their issues like every relationship does but Lacey told me repeatedly that she did feel safe with Juan and he was far from the violent type.

    I’m very sorry that you as Lacey’s mother has to go through all of this but I will also agree with the above statement about Cherry. Every investigator I talked to was through Cherry. Everything that has been worked on has been through Cherry. Your her mother and I’ve never even spoken to you. But yet you say you have done everything in your power. Lacey loved you that isn’t a lie, but lacey had massive pain in her heart over the way she was treated by you. No matter how old your children get, a mother NEVER EVER EVER EVER should turn their back on their child. And I’m sorry, but I have sat next to Lacey too while she spoke with you and cried and cried over the hurtful things you have said to her. I understand you did love her but don’t preach you did right by her when you didn’t. WE are the people who knew lacey too and who seen the pain first hand she went through. I stuck up for you repeatedly begging Lacey to turn to you and I know of twice she did and twice you turned her away. Why else would she turn to an aunt so far away for references and/or advocates she could turn to. You should of grabbed your daughters hand and never left her side even with her being grown.

    As police detectives say, the evidence says it all. You as her mother allowed a man who beat her, strangled her, raped her, etc. to live in your daughters house that was in your name. You continued to pay this mans phone bill after knowing for sure how badly he was hurting your daughter. And you weren’t there to help her then, what makes anyone believe your trying to help her now? And in all honestly, you not only allowed your daughter in that kind of environment but as well your grandson. If he could beat her like that, what makes anyone believe he won’t beat that baby? The first time he spills something or breaks something or gets into something he isn’t suppose to like 99.99% of all children do, whats gonna happen to him?

    I’m sorry but I too agree that Cherry has been an angel sent by the hands of god and has not for one second given up on Lacey. She continues to fight while her own family bashes her for doing what they should be doing. You should be thankful for Cherry and all the help she has provided. Like I said, I never spoke to you not even once but yet your her mother and yet Cherry somehow contacted me immediately following Lacey’s murder. She as well not only done that but has been a very good friend to me.

    If it will make you feel better and/or live better believing you did everything in your power, then by all means continue to do so but please know that isn’t the truth. And I’m sorry I have to say I do believe this is a big relevance to this case, because in order for us to all know Lacey fully, we need to know the truth about her life and about her relationships with everyone, including the one with you. You really need to come to terms with the truth of the relationship she had with you. And we all make mistakes, I know I have as a mother. Its them that I have learned from. I don’t doubt that you loved her, I just don’t agree with the type of love you gave her. She needed you the most, and she couldn’t go home, at least not when the beatings started getting bad. And I can give you all a FULL LIST of people who also witnessed her crying over her mother repeatedly over the fact her mother wouldn’t support her decision in leaving Daniel. Like I said, the evidence speaks for itself. If her mother agreed to help her leave Daniel, then why did her mother continue to help Daniel financially and not Lacey? Why didn’t her mother force Daniel to leave the house instead of Lacey having to turn to a shelter?

    I’m sorry if this has been hurtful, that wasn’t my goal or intentions at all. But my mom used to tell me the truth sometimes hurts. I wasn’t always being the best mom I could be and it was MY MOM who opened my eyes to that BY STEPPING IN like a mother should. I do send my deepest sympathy and condolences to her family as I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy on this kind of pain.

  14. The official page for the iconic television series Unsolved Mysteries, which profiles real crimes and mysteries, and was hosted originally by Robert Stack and then by Dennis Farina. Check them out at http://www.unsolved.com http://www.laceygaines.com/who-killed-lacey-gaines-by-official-unsolved-mysteries/

  1. Pingback: Quote by Lacey to her Aunt Cherry | Who Murdered Lacey Gaines

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