Tuesday night, balloons were released into the sky in memory of 47-year-old Tricia Freeman.
As the sun set and the balloons rose from sight, a pink cross-shaped balloon remained tied to the fence, a sign that Freeman is not forgotten.
About 10 people gathered Tuesday night to remember Freeman just outside her home. They remembered her as a person who had a passion for her dogs. Some wiped away tears as the group honored their friend. Most said Freeman didn’t deserve what happened to her.
Freeman’s body was found Monday in Levy County. She was reported last seen March 14. Her car was found in Ashland, Ky., on Thursday. Then, police say, her daughter’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Roy Nichols Jr., confessed to killing her after the couple was arrested in West Virginia.
Details on how Freeman was murdered have not been released.
The vigil was organized by Robert Kronk, who said his mother was once a neighbor to Freeman. His sister knew Freeman’s daughter, Kayla Colyer, he said.
Nichols faces a charge of second-degree murder, and Colyer faces a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. They will be extradited to Manatee County in the coming days, authorities said.
But Tuesday night’s vigil was about Freeman’s life, not her death.
“Just remembering her and remembering who she was. That’s what it’s about right now; it’s all about Tricia. Pretty sure she’s watching, happy all the dogs got good homes,” Kronk said of the vigil. “I hope justice is served though for her.”
Kronk, who arrived around 7:45 p.m., brought candles and balloons to the vigil. The balloons, including one in the shape of a cross, were tied to the fence outside Freeman’s Palmetto home. After a few words about Freeman were shared over candlelight, many of the balloons were released.
Mark Cordevant, who said he was a longtime friend of Freeman’s husband, said she has no family in the area but people from Tropicana — where her late husband worked — were like her family.
“I am happy they found her and she ain’t out in the woods or something,” Cordevant said.
He talked about an argument that Freeman had with her daughter before she was killed because Freeman kicked her daughter out of the house.
When he didn’t hear from her after the fight, he grew concerned and went to her home. Cordevant would eventually take Freeman’s dogs and give them new homes.
“We’ll never forget her because of the way she was, especially as a person and an actual animal lover the way she was. That’s what really gets me on that part, why take someone like that?” Cordevant said.
Co-workers of Freeman’s at the IHOP restaurant in Sarasota said she was a “good woman” who loved her dogs and husband.
Emma Perry, one of Freeman’s co-workers, wasn’t surprised to hear Freeman’s daughter was allegedly involved. She said Freeman had talked about problems in their relationship.
“It feels like we’re in a movie, and I’m going to wake up one day. But I’m not,” Perry said.
Work she said, has been rough since employees learned the about Freeman’s death, but Perry said they “got through it.”