Gathering remembers murdered teacher - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gathering remembers murdered teacher

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(WMC-TV- Heather Palumbo-Jones' estranged husband is locked up at 201 Poplar on a second degree murder charge. Her friends arrived at her church Thursday for a gathering in her honor after what has been an emotionally draining 10 days.

Mixed in with the tears and held hands was a welcome release.

"We've been decompressing today," said friend Joanna Young.

Many couches were filled with friends who spent the past week-and-half praying and searching for their missing friend, Heather Palumbo-Jones.

"She really was an absolute beautiful person. Inside and out. All the time," said friend Dara Newberry.

Newberry lived next door to Heather for years at the Westminster Apartments. She said her friend shed half her body weight through sheer force of will, but kept every last ounce of personality.

"She was larger than life. Even when she was small. Even after all the weight. She just had such a big presence," said Newberry.

Friends said her presence was felt when they visited the site where her charred body was found. They went to the location in order to place a cross draped in her favorite color, purple.

"It was the first time that any of us in the last ten days have actually been able to be where she was. We've been trying to find her and for us to finally be there with her where she was, we needed that," said Young.

Friends said it is cathartic to talk about Heather and her disappearance.

"It touched a lot of people and it hurt a lot of people. And her story is being heard," said friend Catherine Herring.

The story they said of a mother dedicated to her two children, a teacher dedicated to her students, and a Zumba instructor dedicated to the gym.

Heather's friends talked for 45 minutes and would have gone on for hours more.

They said they knew of trouble in the Jones' marriage, but that Heather refused to let it interfere with day-to-day life.

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