Learning to Know Lacey: The Tragic Life of Lacey Gaines

Let me start off by saying I’m sorry for those who are offended that I am covering Lacey Gaines’ story. By many accounts Lacey was a beautiful woman who loved her son and was trying to make a better life for herself. Unfortunately, she chose to fall in love with a man who would later abuse her, many times viciously. 10 years her senior, Daniel Sanchez and Lacey had a relationship that led to the birth of their son Conor when Lacey was 16. I’ve seen documents showing that she was trying to get away from Daniel, looking for shelters and help. Sadly Lacey lived in fear in the years leading to her vicious murder. So far, no one has been arrested. I’m not saying Daniel had anything to do with this. Because I don’t know. But friends are starting to speak out. Those that were close to her at the end of her short life loved her very much. And they have a lot to say. These blogs are not an indictment on how Lacey was raised or what her relationship was with her parents when she died. Frankly, that’s irrelevant. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, Lacey’s parents did quite a bit for their daughter and their sons. But the fact remains, Lacey is gone and no one knows who committed this crime.

I will get into the details of that horrible day on December 7, 2009. But first I want you to hear about Lacey from her family and friends. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry. This was Lacey’s life.

Lacey’s Aunt Cherry Simpson

I remember when Lacey came to visit us with her parents and brothers. She was young maybe 8 or 9 yrs. and she wanted to go fishing. So we all booked passage on “The Fishing Fool”. Lacey was so happy she walked gracefully across gangway to the boat, singing “We ain’t leaving ’til we’re heaving.” Oh she made me laugh.

Now this was a big boat and there were 6 of us and an extra gentleman who happened to be a Priest. Lacey I and the Priest were fishing side by side. The poles were heavy and held as many as 9 hooks. I worried if we did catch anything we’d surely be pulled overboard. But not Lacey. She was catching fish faster than anyone else on the boat. I remember her leaning over to me and whispering low, “Wanna know my secret, Aunt Cherry?” I said, “Sure, what is it? – thinking she was going to tell me she did some fancy hook maneuvering.” Lacey leaned in closer, “I pray,” then she grinned this big grin with a twinkle in her eye. She was some special little girl. She’d steal your heart the moment you laid eyes on her.

I know she’s in Heaven right now pulling in some big fish with her G’pa Charlie.

PRAY” for Lacey. “PRAY” they catch her killer.

We had gone fishing at 6am, I had bruises under my arms from holding that pole. Lacey was so excited about her catch she wanted to cook it right away.

So we drove back to Aunt Cherry’s to cook the red fish. Lacey thought I could do anything. But I can’t am a terrible cook. I looked for my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and it said to bread the fish.

Well I didn’t have any breading. But I had Capt Crunch cereal so that’s what I used. I told Lacey it was Aunt Cherry’s secret ingredient. I can remember her little eyes just looking at me in such adoration and she was going to keep that secret. Thankfully it turned out delicious.

Later that year we flew up to Chicago for Christmas which we always had at Lacey’s. Her Mom made red fish that Year. Lacey leaned over to me and said “It’s not as good as ours Aunt Cherry, she forgot the secret ingredient….Capt Crunch!” She was such a beautiful adventurous girl. When I think of Lacey I know she could have become someone great. It’s so sad. Christmas is going to be forever changed for so many. I miss her greatly.


Posted on December 9, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Domestic Violence, Lacey Gaines and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. “We ain’t leaving ’til we’re heaving.” that is a hoot! And it’s how I feel about the police finally solving this case.

    So I am…“PRAYing” for Lacey. “PRAYing” they catch her killer.

  2. Lacey was so special. And you are so right about there not being anything she couldn’t do. I can remember getting a flat and her changing my tire like a pro. She always was offering to do work on my car. Said she grew up in her dads garage and how he taught her how to work on cars. I can still picture that smile of hers that would light up the darkest room. I can remember all of her words of wisdom and inspiration. How when I first met her she immediately acted like my bestie. That was lacey though…..she loved everyone and seen the good in everyone. You fell in love with her instantly….I’m now all alone in my pea pod…..we always got told we were 2 peas in a pod because of how alike we were.

  3. Family won’t comment unless they feel like they have to defend themselves. That’s what they have become of a small town.. . I’m very glad this story focuses on the point Lacey and her murderer. She deserves justice. And no one will ever know what she went through especially if you have never been in a violent relationship nor lived her life day to day….Hopefully one day the truth will be told.

    • I agree that this story should focas on finding justice for the murder of Lacey Gaines. That is 100 percent what I believe needs to be done. However making sly comments, such as “the family won’t comment unless they feel they need to defend themselves” is exactly the kind of comments that takes the focus away from finding justice for Lacey and creates this snowball effect of unprodcutive behavior. Maybe if we could avoid these kind of derogatory comments every one could work together for the purpose of Lacey. Something I just believe everyone should think about before they post something…… But that’s just my opinoin…..

    • It’s true Lacey grew up in the corn fields far from town in Grant Park, IL. She was the youngest and only girl. She attended a Luther Day School most of her life. In her teens she changed school. She met Daniel at the restaurant she worked at – her Aunt’s and Uncle’s. They didn’t like Daniel and fired him due to his many dalliances with most of the female staff and of course Lacey.

      Her website has a long list of condolences from all over the world and lists all on-line media coverage. It also has a light a candle link to remember Lacey and videos of her as a child.

      This video was made the day after Lacey was found murdered by someone who never knew Lacey but was also a victim of domestic violence. Lacey’s death effected her, as she felt, it could have been her, at one time in her life.

      Lacey death has touch many people please take to time to visit and see for your self and thank you for caring about Lacey.


  4. This site also received many negative personal emails:

    As your post moves it’s way across the internet I was sure family and or close friends may come out and speak up. They have a kind of wall of silence around this case. Which I won’t lie, has bothered me.

    I appreciate your putting up with nasty remarks and I apologize for them happening. I think you speaking out on this helps not just Lacey but helps to change and educate others.

    Lacey has a website http://www.LaceyGaines.com where you can find all media coverage and condolences from around the world.

  5. I would love to help with anything I can by sharing this story on FB and hopefully someone will REPOST and that will keep going along with strong prayers. I know I’m saying them. God bless.

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