The family of Sandra Farris have been praying for closure, though the closure they got may not have been what they wanted.
It had been 27 days since 55-year-old Sandra Farris went missing in Cairo when river workers near Paducah, Ky. found a body floating in the Ohio River April 24. Donna Pearman, Farris’ sister said she happened to have the news on that afternoon when the report came that a body had been found. Donna was tipped off that it may have been her sister when reporters mentioned the body was found wearing blue jeans and Nike tennis shoes. When she heard the news, Pearman contacted Farris’ only child, Shanna Farris, of Cape Girardeau, Mo . Shanna said she was confident her mother had been found even before the body was identified.
“I knew that was my mom,” Shanna said.
Donna, her daughter Shelly Pearman and Shanna spent the rest of the afternoon contacting the authorities to find out if the body found was, indeed, their loved one. By 4:00 p.m., Donna and Shelly were asked to come to Paducah to identify the body. When the two arrived at the Coroner’s office, they were shown select photographs and were able to identify the body as Sandra’s because of two pieces of jewelry: a ring and an engraved necklace. Donna said, though she was incredibly sad she felt like she was given closure.
“I felt like God answered my prayer,” she said. “I didn’t want to keep thinking everyday that someone had her and that she was being tortured.” Shanna also said her mother being found brought her a sense of closure.
“I didn’t know if her body was ever going to be found,” she said.
Cairo Police Officer Jody Benbrook said Farris’ case is closed in Cairo. He said the investigation will now be handled by investigators in Kentucky.
Detective Tim Reed with the McCracken County Kentucky Sheriff’s Department and lead investigator in Sandra’s case said his office does not suspect foul play.
“The medical examiner’s office did not find any trauma to Ms. Farris’ body,” Reed said. Reed said his office has yet to receive an official cause of death.
Reed said there are still big questions that need to be answered.
“Just the fact that she was found in the river does not really explain it,” Reed said. “We’ve got the beginning, she left the house to go for a walk, and we’ve got the end, she was recovered, deceased, from the river.” Reed said what happened in between is still a mystery.
Because Farris went missing in Cairo, where the Ohio River ends, one big question is how Farris managed to be found up stream in the Ohio. Reed said there are two possible answers to this: She went into one of the rivers around Cairo and was carried upstream by a barge. Reed said another explanation could that she got in or was put in a car and was taken North of Paducah and put in the river.
The necklace found on Sandra’s body, a Christmas gift from Donna, was engraved with words both Donna and Shanna feel helped her body be found. The back of the necklace reads,” May the Lord’s angels guide and guard you through this life.” Shanna now wears the necklace everyday and said she hopes the words will also protect her the way she believes they did her mother.
“I feel like when I wear that now, maybe it will keep me safe,” she said.
A celebration of Sandra’s life was held May 1 at Jones’ Funeral Home in Villa Ridge.
— Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242