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22-year-old mother’s parents say she was trying to turn her life around

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Kelsey Ewonus, 22, was found dead in her car from gunshot wounds near Francis Street and Bristow Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas on Tuesday.

“I had not been able to get ahold of her all day, and so I already had a sense that something was wrong,” said Kelsey’s mom, Ginger Ewonus, on Wednesday.

Ginger says about an hour after seeing the report on the news, police came to her door and confirmed her biggest fears; it was her daughter who was found dead.

“In the morning she had gone, I think to Independence, to let a dog out for a friend, and I don't know if she was just coming back home through that area, I just don't really know because I didn't talk to her after she left the house yesterday morning,” said Ginger.

Ginger called her husband who came home from work immediately.

“That was very difficult, to say the least, I just cried. I mean, what can you do?” said Kelsey’s dad, Kent Ewonus. “When I got home, we just hugged.”

The Ewonus' say their daughter was very strong willed, vibrant and loved her family, but that she's made some poor choices in the past. A couple years ago, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, but was working through her issues.

“She probably had some issues with drugs, we just don't know the depth of what she struggled with, but she knew she needed to change her life around and go forward and make better choices,” Ginger said.

Last year Kelsey had a baby boy. Her parents say she was a great mom and he was the joy of her life.

“She desperately wanted her life to be better and to get out of that so she could be a better mother for her son,” said Ginger. “Despite any issues or trouble she had, she was a very bright and engaging and loving child. We will miss all of that very much.”

“She was a good kid, she really was,” said Kent.

Kelsey was supposed to go to a program next week for six months, for girls ages 13-28 who have various issues. They were hoping it would help her.

“I feel numb, for me it's just very surreal. I mean you just never think of your child being murdered,” Ginger said.

“I’m in shock, too, it's just a father's worst nightmare,” added Kent.

Kelsey’s funeral will be held at the family’s church on Sunday.