EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) - Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker was murdered in 2007 by her police officer husband. Now her family tries to turn her tragic death into something helpful for the Chattanooga area.
Theresa's family says it's been five painful years since her killing. Now they're stepping in with a newly formed organization to keep other local domestic violence victims from ending up like Theresa.
"No words to explain how important she was and how much we miss her," Theresa Parker's sister Hilda Wilson said.
Hilda Wilson says she still thinks about her sister's murder every day and the long road to get here. Theresa Parker went missing in 2007. Police conducted search after search with no results. Two years later her ex-cop husband Sam Parker was convicted of killing her. Another year later, a farmer found her remains and she was finally laid to rest.
"We are just on a mission to have her death not be in vain." Wilson said.
She's sharing Theresa's story for a wake up call to the seriousness of domestic violence.
"She might be gone now but we're going to fight for other people because that's the kind of person she was," Wilson said.
Wilson took the first steps Saturday in a walk at Camp Jordan by raising money for a women's domestic violence shelter in the Chattanooga area.
"There's such a great need here in this state and this city," Safe Harbor Agency Spokesperson Michelle Merriman said.
The Safe Harbor Agency just formed in September, but they plan on having a 30 room shelter open by in a couple weeks.
"There was a lot of women turned away from shelters last year and therefore they got abused again," June Kingry said.
June Kingry will be the housemother on site 24-7, saving victims from her own experience.
"Beat, raped and stabbed, like I was,: Kingry said.
"That's one of the most important things I think for victims is that they have support and know that they're not on their own. They don't have to hide," Wilson said.
They're sending out the call now that help is on the way and encouraging victims to come forward, not keep it hidden like Theresa Parker did for years.
"It's just embarrassment and shame and that's so wrong because as a victim, you are just that-- a victim," Wilson said.
The 30-room shelter will take on women and children, keeping them safe, and helping them get into jobs and education programs. Again, it's expected to open in Hamilton County by December first, but the Safe Harbor Agency says they still need to raise several thousand more dollars.