The loved ones of Holly Fox Strickland will let Chinese floating lanterns fly this weekend to honor the memory of a mother killed two years ago.
“She was just a happy, healthy 32-year-old mom,” Strickland’s mother, Wilma Patterson, said.
Strickland was last seen on Feb. 3, 2014, in her Oakwood home before she was reported missing.
“She just texted me on Monday to tell me that she was coming up to spend the weekend with me, the seventh and eighth, and that’s the day her body was found,” Patterson said.
Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Strickland was shot outside her home. Patterson said her daughter did not own a gun but knew how to use one from squirrel hunting in Ellijay.
Two years later, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes said no new leads have developed in the case.
After last year’s balloon release, the family hopes the weather will permit them to release the lanterns to honor a giving and gifted woman.
As kids, Strickland would always give her ice cream cone to sister Angela Holt, a memory she keeps as a favorite.
“If you asked her for help, she would do it,” Holt said.
Holt said Strickland graduated early from Gilmer High School and was known for her management skills. She last worked as the Kroger deli manager.
Though Strickland had moved to Oakwood, the sisters kept in touch by texting. Patterson said she was on her way into a second job at a convenience store when the phone rang regarding her daughter’s death.
“I was overwhelmed by the friends that she had at her funeral,” Patterson said. “There was like two buses of them.”
Patterson said she received constant phone calls and text messages of condolences. The family kept adding more and more pages to her book at the funeral home.
Patterson and Holt said the first investigator with the Sheriff’s Office was hard to reach at times. Strickland’s mother said she had just gotten off the phone with the third investigator this Monday.
“They’ve been in contact with me every week, just to let me know what they’ve done and what they’re going to do,” Patterson said.
The push on social media and talking to anyone that would listen led to a few leads that didn’t pan out, Holt said.
Strickland had two children, then ages 7 and 11, at their home in the Raintree subdivision of Oakwood, a family that took a yearly vacation together to Disneyworld, Patterson said.
“(Her son) seems to be adjusting,” Holt said. “He still has periods of time when he doesn’t want to talk, doesn’t want to socialize with any of us.”
“No matter how insignificant,” Holt said, the family and the Sheriff’s Office ask anyone with information to step forward.
“I think her children deserve to know that their mom did not willingly leave them, and I don’t know how they can be so cruel as to let a child imagine all kinds of things like that,” Patterson said.