Victim will be honored with "Last Ride Home" after funeral
Family and friends of rural Solsberry resident Stacey Jo Lawson will gather at a Bloomfield funeral home Saturday morning to pay their final respects and then many will mount motorcycles for her "Last Ride Home" -- escorting the hearse to the Newark Cemetery after the service.
Stacey loved motorcycles and her grief-stricken family thinks it's a fitting tribute for this free-spirited woman.
The body of the 28-year-old mother of two was found last Saturday afternoon near the Newark Baptist Church -- just a few hundred yards from the cemetery where she'll be buried.
"I know her daughters are going to be crushed," Shaina Vincent, Stacey's younger sister told the Greene County Daily World. "Everyone is devastated about this. She was just a beautiful person. She was just so nice. She was the kind of person who would seriously give you the clothes off of her back if you needed them."
Foul play is suspected in the case that is being investigated by the Indiana State Police and the Greene County Sheriff's Department.
But no one has officially mentioned the word homicide, but family members say justice needs to be done in the case.
Authorities have been mum on the status of the investigation, but ISP Public Information officer Curt Durnil says that witnesses and persons of interest have been interviewed.
Shaina, who lives in Bloomington, called Stacey her best friend.
"She was a very outgoing person. She loved the outdoors. She loved her daughters more than anything. She was very caring and had a very big heart of gold. She was very popular and had a lot of friends. Everyone loved her and she loved everyone," Shaina told the Greene County Daily World on Wednesday afternoon. "She loved going to church. She attended the House of Prayer (in Ellettsville)."
Shaina was three years younger than Stacey, but the two were very close.
Shaina continued, "We did everything together. We were best friends growing up. I always wanted to be just like my sister. We were on the basketball team and worked hard at school and was always on the honor roll and made great grades."
Stacey and her sister were raised in their younger years near Solsberry and Stacey moved back to the eastern Greene County area about two years ago.
"We always played Barbie's together and catch crawdads in the creek. We used to go swimming together at the pool. We did everything together," Shaina recalled. "She was so loved by everyone. We are just devastated that this could happen to her."
The victim attended elementary school at Highland Park and later attended Bloomington North High School in Bloomington.
Stacey was divorced for a little over two years and the mother of two children, 8-year-old Lilly and 1-year-old Emily.
News of her death was a shock to everyone in her family and among her extended group of friends.
"It was all very surprising and unexpected. We never saw this coming at all," Shaina said. "I talked to her about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. I was at work and wasn't able to talk on the phone. I told her I would call her back. I talked to her boyfriend (Pat Lewis) and was told that she just ran up the road and would be back in a little while. He said he would have her call me. That was the last time anyone talked to her."
Bloomington resident Thomas Meadows, the fiance to Stacey's mother, Lori Lawson, also knew the victim well.
"She was a country Greene County girl. She was a sweetheart," Meadows said. "She definitely didn't deserve what happened to her ... it took us all by surprise.
"She was a free-spirit. Everybody loved her."
He added that he didn't know anyone who would want to hurt her.
Meadows said police and Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw have been working closely with the family.
"The people who did this are very sick, demented people and definitely need to be off the street. The police have been very kind to us, the detectives have been very kind to us and the prosecutor has been very kind. He's going out of his way to make sure that nothing goes wrong and he gets the right people. The family, so far, has been very happy with what they are doing," Meadows said.
Shaina said she didn't want to speculate on what might have happened, because she indicated police are close to solving the case.
"Yes, there will be an arrest made," Shaina stated. "They are very close and they have a lot of information. A lot of her (Stacey's) friends have been calling and leaving tips and stuff. A lot of them are true and some of them aren't true and they (the police) have to weed through them all."
Funeral service for Stacey Jo Lawson, 28, rural Solsberry, will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Jenkins & Sons Funeral Home in Bloomfield with House of Prayer Pastor Larry Mitchell officiating.
Interment will follow in Newark Cemetery in rural Solsberry.
Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. today (Friday) and from 9 a.m. until the hour of service on Saturday at the funeral home.