Sister of Peggy Schroeder hopes for justice in murder case

GALENA, Illinois -- For Charlene Wilkinson, gardening means remembering her sister.

In her backyard she keeps a memorial garden.

"I did this last year," she said. "Everything in it has a story with Peggy."

Peggy and Charlene shared a bond deeper than sisterhood, they were best friends.

"I know I have my husband and my kids and my family but that bond that I had with Peggy I miss," she said.

In July of 2017 Peggy was shot and killed in her Morrison, Illinois home.  Her 16-year-old daughter Anna Schroeder was charged with her murder, according to the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators said Anna Schroeder, who was 15 at the time, texted a picture of her mother’s body to her friend Rachel Helm, who was also 15 at the time.  Helm then reportedly came to help clean up at the house in the 800 block of West Park Street.

According to previous reports, the two planned to run away, but first set the house on fire.

Charlene described her niece as a "typical kid" and said she was surprised to hear that Anna was involved.

"My sister never would have seen this coming," said Charlene, "she adored Anna, Anna loved her mom, and that’s what I saw."

She expounded on her sister's life, saying she was full of love.

"People that know my sister, because she had a lot of friends, they know how caring (she was), she had so much love in her."

Charlene said she's in search of closure, hoping to get back into her gardening, and find forgiveness.

"I don't know if I can ever forgive (Anna), but I'll try," she said.  "With god’s help I’m hoping to get rid of this hatred that I have because it’s not a good feeling."

Reminiscing about their childhood, Charlene said she and Peggy used to enjoy spending time with their neighbors "because they made the best cookies ever," she said, with a laugh.  The pair made a plan to live near each other in their golden years, and make cookies for the neighbors.

"We had a lot of plans that obviously we didn't get to do," she said.

Charlene said she wants justice for her sister and closure for her and the family.

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