Lacey Gaine’s Friend Speaks Out: Everyone Loved Her

Sunset Lakes Apartment

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.

Lacey Gaines and her then boyfriend Daniel Sanchez

“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:


Posted on December 10, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Domestic Violence, Lacey Gaines and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. An email from Lacey’s French friend Julien who spoke to her the Friday before Lacey’s murder.


    I want to write my testimony about what i know about Lacey.

    Because she was my best friend and if it can help police to find the person who did this awful thing or to get information they don’t have I would be happy.

    I went to see my friends (retracted) and Lacey in October 2007.

    Lacey was 8 months pregnant.

    When I spent my time at Lacey’s, Daniel was nice with her and we spent together good times.

    After she gave birth (the next year), she called me several times during the night to tell me that Daniel fight her. He strangled her and she told me that she had some scrapes on her neck. And that Daniel’s brother (alesandro) separated them.

    I told her that she should leave and go back at her parent’s with Connor.

    She told me that she was not in good relation with her mum because of her situation, but I told: “we have two parents and that I’m sure that they preferred you to be safe and they love you, no matter what’s happen”

    About my trip in October 2007, I remember that Daniel was jealous of me and (retracted) because we were spending time with her.

    I remember too that we went to pick up Daniel’s daughter, and Lacey told me she was mad of her, because sometimes she didn’t want to let her daughter go with her father.

    After this trip when I came back, and after she gave birth, that’s at this moment that they begun to fight and that I told her to break up with him. (during 2008 year).

    After that I know that she had some short relation.

    And she met Juan. She told me that she was really happy with him, they love each other very much, and he respected her.

    At the beginning of their relation, Juan was a little jealous of me because I was calling her.

    And once, I called Lacey and she was with Juan so I decided to talk to him, and I told him that I will come to see them and that he will see there’s no reason for him to be jealous of me.

    She changed her phone number a few times (because of Daniel), and she moved a few times too (because of him too). But each times she changed her phone number she was sending me her new phone number.

    But I didn’t have any news from her from June to October 2009. And I was afraid something happened or that she decided to stop talking to me because of Juan’s jealousy.

    In her mails she was always telling me : “I miss you”, “you’re my best friend”, “take care my juju”.

    But when she sent me her last phone number that’s what she answered me :

    · “bon jour juju sorry i havent been in touch but this is my new number 773 747 0034”
    And that’s all. So I understood that something happened but I didn’t know why.
    She told me that she was married with Juan but they didn’t get married in a church (That’s what I didn’t understand…) but the would like a weeding with family.
    The last time I called her was the friday 4th December. And I was really happy to talk to her, she told me she was working in agency and in a bar. She told me Juan was jealous of the both. Because in the agency, there were a lot of Mexicans and he didn’t like she worked in a bar.

    I asked her if she was going to married Juan and when (like that I could take my vacation).
    But she told me that both didn’t want to get married for the moment.

    I told her that I got some problem with my girlfriend and she gave me good advices and I remember at the end of our conversation, I told her thank you and she told me : “that’s normal juju I’m your best friend”. I’will always get this sentence and her voice in my head and in my heart…

    To my mind when I called her it was not the same as before, before when I called her she was telling me : “ Hey my juju what’s up”.

    But this time she doesn’t seem happy and she had a little voice.
    She was someone really strong and awesome, and I miss her so much…

    If you have anything to ask me this is my address and my cell phone number (leave me a message and I will call you back)


    I am hoping Julien will contact Norm at Julien you may hold important information to help bring justice for your friend.

  1. Pingback: Text messages from Lacey | Who Murdered Lacey Gaines

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