OLNEY, Ill. (WTHI) - Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings. But one Wabash Valley family says one of their blessings is spending this holiday in heaven.
For Susan Vaughn, Thanksgiving will never be the same.
She says, "I went to call her back and there wasn't no answer on the other end, and I knew then that something was wrong."
A young child was found dead in Olney, Illinois on Thanksgiving of 2016. Police would soon discover that child was 8-year-old Sabrina Stauffenberg. Stauffenberg is Vaughn's granddaughter.
Vaughn says she was the last person to talk to Sabrina as she waited for a bus to pick her up for church. As it turned out, there'd be no church the night before Thanksgiving.
Vaughn recalls, "Nancy calls me up, that's her mom, and she says, 'Mom, Sabrina disappeared.' ‘Did she go to church?’ ‘We didn't see the bus go by.’ They called me and asked me to call the police to see what we could do. That's when they found out she disappeared for good, and they found her over 2 hours after that."
Sabrina may be gone, but Vaughn has many treasured memories of her granddaughter. From her independent spirit, her contagious and constant smile, and her love for God.
Vaughn says, "God’s up there watching her and she loved her church so much I’m glad she did go to it. When she came home from church she was always singing ‘Jesus loves me.’"
Vaughn says each day that passes is hard. She's surrounded by photos, memories paused in time that remind her of Sabrina. Vaughn says one thing keeping her going is her desire for justice.
She says, "I’ve been going to the courts. I don't care how many days it takes. He's going to get what he gets and I hope he does. No matter what they say."
But until Sabrina's family gets justice, they'll treasure the memories they had with her, and hold on to the hope that she's in a better place.
Vaughn says, "I would tell her I love her, I miss her, and I’ll see you when I get there."
Glenn Ramey is charged in connection to the death of 8-year-old Sabrina Stauffenberg. He faces Murder and Predatory Sexual Assault charges. Ramey is set to go to trial in Effingham County January 12th.
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