By CLINT FOSTER
Some wounds take time to heal.
With the calendar page now turned to July, today marks the three-year anniversary of the disappearance and death of Krishonda Townsend. Another year has passed with very few answers and little to no closure for family and friends.
"Just another year," Townsend's mother Carolyn Rittenbury said with a long pause. "Everybody would like to have closure in something like this. Just to find out what happened would be great, because we don't have any idea."
Townsend virtually vanished without a trace some time after midnight on July 5, 2010. She had spent the Fourth of July with friends at Lake Bridgeport before heading to a friend's house in west Mineral Wells. The then 19-year-old posted "I got this" to her Facebook page and texted her mother that she was on her way home. She then left the house off U.S. Highway 180 around midnight to head for her home in Gibtown, just East of Perrin.
Townsend did not make it home. Her cell phone received signal from a tower in the Peadonville area until activity went silent around 2 a.m. Later, her car was discovered around 5:30 a.m. in southeast Mineral Wells with the doors open and no discernible evidence as to what happened.
Her skeletal remains were found on Oct. 27, 2011, in far southwest Mineral Wells, off Sand Hill Road, by a prospective buyer walking an approximately 100-acre piece of land. A positive identification was made through dental records, primarily because Townsend wore braces.
She would be 22 if she were alive today.
Townsend was a single mother. Her son, Hayden, turned 5 on June 24. He lives with his grandmother, Rittenbury, who says he's doing fine.
"He knows his momma's gone to heaven to be with Jesus," she said. "He visits the grave. He doesn't know that people killed her, he doesn't understand all that. But he knows that she's in heaven with God. We went out and put some red, white and blue flowers on her grave just [Tuesday]."
Although she said she would love to have closure, Rittenbury added that her faith has helped her reach acceptance of the tragedy.
"I know that God says 'Vengeance is mine, says the Lord,' and that's what holds me up," she said. "The Lord will get these people someday, so I don't even worry about it anymore. I have a peace that passes all understanding from the Lord. I don't worry about it anymore."
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said his department is still actively pursuing leads and, although there are few, there are still things actively going on in the case.
"I just wish we could get it solved and get justice for her," he said.
Mercer said there is now a $20,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for Townsend's disappearance and death. Information can be provided anytime by calling (940) 325-0000.
Meanwhile, Rittenbury's family will cling to the Lord and each other and keep Townsend's memory alive.
"We were a real close-knit family," she said. "We still are."
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