In broad daylight at a Savannah, Ga., Sav-A-Lot parking lot, Gloria Peloquin was murdered by a robber who shot her point blank as she attempted to drive away from the parking lot.
"It was just a senseless crime," Doris "Tink" Robertson said of her sister's death and the pain that endures. "She was such an incredible lady. Everyone loved her spirit and kindness towards others."
Peloquin's love of children and children's causes makes her death all the more tragic.
"It was a 16-year old kid that shot her. She would have done anything for him if he'd only have asked her for help," Robertson said, fighting back tears at the Friday evening balloon release at Craig Park. "It's all so senseless, so much of a waste."
Memorial balloon releases for Peloquin were taking place in Brazil and in Savannah, Ga. Family and friends in both places, linked by cell phone, listened to West Terre Haute Bethany United Christian Church Pastor Steve Moore pray for healing. Then, at the same moment, the sky filled with 44 white balloons in honor of her sister's birthday. Robertson released one lone red balloon, symbolic of God's forgiving grace, to soar heavenward with the others.
The grief and anger caused by the crime has torn Robertson's family apart.
"There are a few in the family that have been consumed by anger and grief over this," Robertson said, explaining that her own personal strength has come through a deeper relationship with God. "But I can't be that way. I know that my sister is with God."
Robertson prays for her family.
She prays for the young man that killed her sister.
Police arrested Kareem Petty on Mother's Day of 2004 and charged him as an adult for Peloquin's murder. Petty, who claims the gun went off accidentally during the robbery attempt, is still awaiting a new court date.
"Victims of violent crimes suffer so long because of the tragedy they are faced with. The useless loss of someone they love is a hard burden to bear," Robertson said. She understands that the perpetrator's families share in the misery because they also lose a loved one. "Whenever there is a violent crime, everyone becomes a victim."