With flowers on the grave and Chinese lanterns soaring above, the family of Holly Fox Strickland will mark the fifth anniversary of her death today.
“It takes the stuffing out of you to lose your baby girl,” said Wilma Patterson, Strickland’s mother.
Strickland was last seen on Feb. 3, 2014, in her Raintree Trace home in Oakwood before she was reported missing.
Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Strickland was shot outside her home. Patterson previously told The Times her daughter did not own a gun but knew how to use one from squirrel hunting in Ellijay.
Strickland’s body was found five days later less than 100 yards from her backdoor.
“It’s been five years, and I don’t feel like they know anymore now than they did when they started. I’m not saying that they’re not working on it, but my concern is that evidence is going to be misplaced or lost, and I feel like they could do it more aggressively,” Patterson said.
Attempts to reach Investigator Ashley Corwin for comment on the case were unsuccessful. In 2016, the Sheriff’s Office said they had not developed any new leads.
The last text between mother and daughter came on Feb. 3, 2014 with Strickland telling Patterson that Strickland and her kids were coming up to spend the weekend with Patterson.
“I was at work and she texted, and it was the last ‘I love you and I will see you Friday,’” Patterson said.
Strickland’s sister, Angela Holt, previously told The Times Strickland graduated early from Gilmer High School and was known for her management skills. She last worked as the Kroger deli manager.
Strickland lived with her two children, then ages 7 and 11, at their home in the Raintree subdivision of Oakwood.
“They’re doing OK, but It’s hard around the holidays and birthdays, especially the anniversary of her death,” Holt said of the family.
Beyond the text messages, Patterson has holiday cards as well as some jewelry returned to her from the sheriff’s office.
“She was so tenderhearted, and she was just good to people,” Patterson said of Strickland.
Patterson and the family have continued to keep persistent contact with the investigators working her case.
The anonymous tip line for the sheriff’s office is 770-503-3232.
“If anybody knows anything, please come forward,” Holt said.