Rain or shine, Janice Grubb and her family were going to walk.
Showers spilled from the sky as family, friends and supporters gathered at Peoples Park on Monday evening for a walk to raise awareness for Crystal Grubb.
Grubb was murdered in 2010, her body discovered in a cornfield just outside town. An
autopsy revealed she was strangled.
The case has since gone cold.
Although police have identified at least three persons of interest in the case, nobody has been charged or convicted for the woman’s murder.
The investigation is active, but Crystal’s family isn’t convinced. The way they see it, police are not doing enough.
Janice, Crystal’s mother, spearheaded the event with the cooperation of the mayor’s office and a former mentor of Crystal’s.
Crystal left behind two young daughters who don’t know how their mother died.
As far as they know, Crystal died of a heart attack, Janice said.
One day, she said, at the right time, they’ll know.
“(We want) to try to get justice done for my daughter and her girls,” Janice said. “It’s been two years since they found her, and there still ain’t justice done. We need justice, and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
The answer is clear to Janice.
Her daughter was last seen alive with three men, one of them her boyfriend, as they walked along Bean Blossom Creek. They were cooking methamphetamine.
If four people walked into the woods and only three come back, something was wrong, Janice said. Someone isn’t talking, she said.
Janice stood behind a folding table as people arrived. Trays filled with red plastic bags stuffed with hot dogs and chips were scattered across the table.
To Janice’s right was her niece Kelsey Crank — at least, that’s how Crank described their relationship.
There is no blood relation, but Crank, 17, considers herself part of the family. She used to visit Crystal and her girls.
“We was really close,” Crank said.
Between handing the snack bags to the crowd, Crank paused and looked at Janice.
“Maybe, eventually, we’ll have justice for her,” she said. “Just think, she wouldn’t want us crying over her.”
“I know,” Janice said as she nodded. “We don’t know much at all right now.”
Crystal’s two little girls had returned to the car. It was cold and wet outside.
Just before the walk began, they returned.
Janice walked to the front of the crowd. The daughters, one on each side of Janice, had to be at the front of the line.
After all, this was for them, Janice said.
Armed with posters, picture boards and hope, the crowd of about 40 walked west down Kirkwood Avenue toward the courthouse.
“I think it went pretty well, considering the rain and stuff,” Janice said. “We hoped for a bigger crowd.”
Being at the front of the line was serious business. The two sisters shared a poster, each girl supporting a side.
“We love Crystal Grubb and we miss hre.” The letters had been stenciled in marker, the “e” and the “r” flipped around.
A group of men edged their way in front of the girls.
“Hey, you cutted!” one of the girls said.
“You hear that, Boo? We cutted,” one of the men snickered.
“Get back!” Janice said, “This is for the girls!”
The men obeyed.
The two girls reclaimed their spot at the front of the line.
The mass of supporters made it to the front of the courthouse and began their descent back to People’s Park.
Crystal’s ex-boyfriend, Tony Williams, the father of her children, walked closely behind his daughters.
“Remember, walk!” he said as he carried a poster and walked eastbound down Kirkwood Avenue.
The group arrived back at the park. Janice walked to the front of the group and called attention to herself.
She passed a piece of notebook paper to another woman who, began to read it aloud.
It was a letter to Crystal’s family and friends from Crystal.
Crystal didn’t personally write the letter, but it was spoken on her behalf as if she were speaking to everyone gathered in her remembrance.
The letter detailed life on Earth, a place where there was still work to be done, according to the letter.
“You will rest in God’s own land when that work is all completed,” the woman read. “He will gently call you home. Oh, the rapture of that meeting. Oh, the joy to see you come.”
“Amen,” members from the crowd responded.