Family, neighbor remember Blue Springs woman murdered in Belize

Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-03 19:06:02-04

LAKE TAPAWINGO, Mo.-- Three teenagers in Belize are now charged in connection to the death of a Blue Springs woman.

Sherris Stringham, 67, was found dead over the weekend after she disappeared for more than a week.

Stringham became a familiar face around Blue Springs, while working as a school bus driver and as a cashier at the local Hy-Vee.

"I think the community remembers her like she was a very loving and free-spirited and adventuresome woman who just had a giant heart," Jacey Faulkner, her daughter said.

Faulkner told 41 Action News her mother moved to Belize about a year ago to enjoy retirement.

"She just loved everyone she met there and I think she felt because it was out of the big city--out of Belize City--in this little kind of fishing village that she would be safe and she wasn't," Faulkner said.

The 67-year-old was set to fly back to Missouri to pick up the rest of her belongings but she canceled at the last minute.

When she failed to show up for an event with friends more than a week ago, police were notified.

Authorities determined that Stringham had encountered a group of teenagers breaking into her car outside her home.  

"She went out and tried to stop them and they hit her and I'm not sure why not just leave her there but they put her in the car," said Faulkner.

Police said the teens abandoned the car hundreds of miles away from her home and threw Stringham off a bridge.

"Those things could have happened here, could have happened anywhere--it was just senseless and stupid," Faulkner said.

Mike Thompson knew Stringham for 22 years, she lived next door at a house on Beach Drive in Lake Tapawingo.

"She always had a project going in the house or out of the house," Thompson said. "If you look in that yard, there's every kind of bush, tree over there that she planted."

To remember her passion for gardening, some of Stringham's neighbors plan to plant a tree near the clubhouse and the main entrance to Lake Tapawingo.

"She didn't develop a lot of hobbies outside of gardening; That was kind of her love and people doing things for people--she--that was her thing," Faulkner said.

Stingham's daughter, son and son-in-law will fly to Belize Tuesday to recover her remains.

Plans are in the works for a celebration of life.