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March 8, 2013

Grieving father talks about unimaginable loss of daughter

Family thankful for community support

JEFFERSONVILLE — “It is something that is not supposed to happen,” said the father of Tara Willenborg, the 17-year-old girl who was murdered in her Clarksville home March 2. “It is something that is not supposed to happen to anybody.”

Todd Willenborg said his family hasn’t yet figured out how to cope with losing their daughter and baby sister. He, his wife Kelley, and their four children are still in shock from the blow of Tara’s heinous death. 

“This is our youngest girl,” Todd Willenborg said. “We had so many years, so much time to raise her.”

The Willenborgs are a Jeffersonville family. Tara attended Maple Elementary, Parkview Middle and Jeffersonville High  schools.

Todd Willenborg said his daughter was headstrong and independent — traits that emerged when she was young child.

“She was different than my other kids. She was the most independent of all of them,” Todd Willenborg said. “She was so focused and doing so well.”

It was only two weeks ago the family celebrated when Tara earned her GED.

“She was as smart as a tack,” Todd Willenborg said. “You can ask her teachers. She could do anything.”

The last time he talked with his daughter was over the phone in the early evening on the day of her death.

They talked about a landscape painting — one of several paintings done by Tara’s great-grandmother —  that Tara loved. Todd Willenborg said the painting wasn’t much, but his daughter liked it, so when she recently asked if she could have it for her home, he gave it to her. 

“She was letting me know that she got it put up on the wall, and it was looking good — you know, heritage stuff that you’re supposed to pass down to kids,” he said 

Todd Willenborg fought back tears when he talked about taking the painting back after her death last weekend.

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