Friends of murdered Lee’s Summit woman beg for answers, remember mother of 2

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Friends of a Lee's Summit woman murdered over the weekend are speaking out for the first time about her death and life now without her.

Prosecutors have charged two young teenagers in the stabbing death of 43-year-old Tanya Chamberlain. Investigators say two boys, 13 and 14 years old, were spotted on grocery store surveillance video in Lee's Summit Saturday night. A few hours later, officers tried to pull over one of the suspects, who was driving Chamberlain's car early Sunday morning.

The teens ran from police near the Ashbrooke Apartments, and that's when officers found Chamberlain dead in the passenger seat of her car. Police haven't yet released or confirmed details about a motive, or how the teens came in contact with Chamberlain.

Those who say they knew the victim best spoke with FOX 4 Thursday. A group of four of Chamberlain's friends talked about the mother of two. They said she was private, a homebody; she didn't like people knowing her business and didn't have a Facebook page.

"You hear about this stuff all the time, but it's never at home. And that's the number one thing: this absolutely hit home," friend April Brown said.

Brown said Chamberlain suffered from physical conditions that kept her home most of the time, and she usually slept during the day. That's why it wasn't strange to them that she was heading to a car wash to meet a friend to borrow some money at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Brown said Chamberlain was like both an older sister and a mother figure, often offering advice to their close circle of friends.

"She was a very, very honest loving person. It's sad because not only did we lose our friend, and her family lose family, but these kids' family lost them," Brown said.

The friends are also asking why.

"We're astonished, it's a slaying and the simple thing is nothing that we do to those kids will bring her back," Brown said.

The lack of confirmed information, and Chamberlain's family not speaking out about her death, has the friends questioning what could've taken place. Brown said Chamberlain had a heart for kids and liked to help people, so maybe, "She saw them walking and she stopped to pick them up."

Friend Jeremiah Persinger disagreed.

"I'm speculating, but I don't think she would've picked up a stranger," he said.

Either way, the group says it's main focus is on the friend they've lost and the impact she had on their lives.

"She's given my children shoes, clothes. She's brought food over for all of our kids. I just want to know why. What would make you want to do something like that to a defenseless lady?" Persinger said.

"We're all lost as to why. You know, none of us can put our finger on it," Brown added.

The friends said they're planning a vigil to remember Chamberlain. They want to raise money for her family and her two children, and they also want their friend to have a proper burial. Check back with FOX 4 for updates about vigil details.

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