MEMPHIS, TN— Domestic violence in the city of Memphis has shattered another family. Two children are without their parents tonight. Their mother was killed and dumped in a river and their father accused of killing her. A community mourns her loss and prays to stop domestic violence Friday night.
Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil at Northside High School to remember 31-year-old Karen Denise Thomas.
"She was like a little daughter to us," said a family friend Claudean Clariette.
The out pouring of support shows she was loved by many.
"Denise would make you laugh. She was just a beautiful person,” said Karen’s sister Cornelia Shaw.
Karen's husband Terrence Thomas reported her missing last week. Thursday October 18 her naked body was found floating the Loosahatchie River. Police say her husband turned himself in and admitted he "choked her to death." It wasn't the first time she was abused by her husband but now she's gone.
"Just knowing that a life has been taken my heart is heavy. If I could've got to her, just talk to her,” said a domestic violence victim and survivor Twanda Hall. She attended Friday night’s vigil to show her support to the family. “We don't have to accept being abused."
All day Friday more than two dozen crime scene technicians and Shelby County deputies conducted grid searches in several areas along interstates 40, 240, and Sam Cooper. Investigators won't say what they're looking for because it's still an active case. As that goes on, 2 children: 11 and 14 years old, kids who were home when their father murdered their mother in the bedroom, are now without both parents. Their community coming together to bring healing and closure to both families involved in this tragedy.
Terrence Thomas is charged with first degree murder and filing a false report. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday October 22, 2012.