04/03/06 — Remembering her friend

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Remembering her friend

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 3, 2006 1:47 PM

Kriquette Davis said she had talked to longtime friend Karen Crawford about doing something New Year's Eve, but no plans were made. She could not have imagined that by the time 2006 was ushered in, her friend would be dead at the hands of a boyfriend.

On the heels of the senseless act that took her friend's life, Ms. Davis said she is bent on doing all she can to raise awareness and make sure Ms. Crawford is more than just a statistic.

KC's "Freedom from Fear Ride," promoting the awareness of intimate partner violence, is planned for April 29 in Raleigh. Contributions and proceeds will be given to the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Karen Crawford

Photo submitted

Karen Crawford

Ms. Davis, associate director of the Family YMCA, said she last spoke with her friend of 20 years in late December. She said when she called Friday, Dec. 30, Ms. Crawford's boyfriend's name was still on the answering machine recording. When a subsequent call was placed Monday morning, the message had been changed, with his name excluded.

Eerily, she says now, at the time she was leaving a message around 11 a.m., forensics and police were at the scene investigating a murder.

At the outset, friends circulated the news that Ms. Crawford had died in her sleep. But when Ms. Davis and husband Dale made the trip to Pittsboro that Monday evening, they discovered a crime scene. The preliminary autopsy showed the woman had been strangled.

"It was something like 'The Big Chill,' with everybody sitting around," Ms. Davis said.

The two women met while Ms. Davis was working at Living Well Lady. Ms. Crawford was a regional trainer for the company and came to Goldsboro to train Ms. Davis.

"She certified me in CPR," Ms. Davis said. "I got a promotion, moved to Raleigh and lived with her for awhile. We both taught at the Y in Raleigh."

Their families also became close. Ms. Davis' brother and Ms. Crawford even dated for a time.

Life seemed to be going well for Ms. Crawford, promoted in her job at Glaxo Smith Kline, she was engaged in research on HIV and AIDS as well as breast cancer drugs.

A array of people attended the funeral, Ms. Davis such, from co-workers, friends and family members, to a procession of 35 motorcyclists.

"Probably within the last six or seven years, several people at Glaxo rode (motorcycles). She took lessons. It was just something she wanted to do," Ms. Davis said. She remembers the day her friend called, excitedly sharing that she had bought a motorcycle of her own.

So it was only fitting that the bike be included among the proceedings at the funeral. Ms. Davis said she rode in the truck that pulled a trailer containing Ms. Crawford's empty motorcycle bearing a wreath.

"It's one of those things you look at and it's just such a statement," she said.

After the funeral, conversations swirled about the 48-year-old woman who had given so much to so many. Just weeks before, at Christmas, she had led an effort to raise money for an orphanage in Oxford.

"Here's somebody that had so much more to offer this world," Ms. Davis said. "Doing all these great things and helping all these people and he took that away from us.

"I think about her in her house. Over the years, she had made great strides. All these things, for her life to be taken in her own house. Someone said that none of us had a clue that any of this was going on."

With Karen's birthday coming up in May, the consensus was that something good should come from what had happened. The idea of a "Poker Run" to raise money as well as awareness seemed fitting.

"The awareness thing is big. I don't want that to happen to somebody else," Ms. Davis said. "There's help out there, but in your circle of friends and family, it's important to pay attention to little details that you think may be insignificant. Sometimes you're the only voice somebody has."

She knows this firsthand. She was in an abusive marriage before, admittedly "embarrassed to tell anybody." Now, she says there are enough avenues that no one should suffer the indignity of being mistreated.

"You think about the ways people die. For somebody to take somebody's life in a 'crime of passion' - killing somebody is killing somebody," she said.

The friend who saw her through all the twists and turns that life brings -- marriage and divorce, struggling salad days and success, family events and holidays -- will be missed, she says.

"Here's a cornerstone of my life that's gone. I'm just trying to figure out any way I can -- for her to be the 68th person in N.C. to die (last year) from domestic violence is not acceptable.

"I know for a fact in my heart that if this had happened to me, she would do the same thing."

Several from the area are helping in the April 29 event, she said, donating time and provisions for the pig-picking and Poker Run. For more information or to contribute, contact Ms. Davis at 778-8557.