As family grieves, hunt continues for man wanted in Schererville woman’s slaying
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/648-3154 June 2, 2012 11:34PM
A family photo of Jacqueline Gardner and one of her daughters. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:54AM
SCHERERVILLE — Two weeks after Jacqueline Gardner’s murder outside her Schererville apartment, her family is still mourning her death and hoping the Gary man charged in her killing is found.
“You don’t know how you’re supposed to deal with it from day to day,” said Rick Gardner about his 24-year-old daughter’s death May 19.
Gardner suffered a fatal shotgun wound just outside the Hidden Lake apartment she shared with boyfriend Tim Sarcia and their 8-month-old daughter, Alessandra. Jacqueline Gardner has another daughter, Bobbie, 4, who lives with her father in Illinois.
Gardner collapsed in the apartment complex hallway in the 8000 block of Alpine Lane after she returned home from work as a waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack in Merrillville. Witnesses saw men running from the scene.
Charges have been filed against three men in connection with Gardner’s murder and the robbery of $85 in tip money. Two men are in custody and a third, Stephen Lee Henderson, 25, of Gary, is still at-large.
“We expect that he’s hiding,” said Schererville Cmdr. Brian Neyhart. “There’s a task force in Illinois and the U.S. Marshal both have him on their list. Until someone locates him, it’s at a stalemate right now.”
Neyhart said Henderson’s name has been entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database so if he’s stopped in any state, police will be alerted of the charges against him.
Rick Gardner, of Oak Lawn, Ill., said his daughter grew up the oldest of three children in Oak Lawn. His daughter and Sarcia lived together in Schererville for about a year. They planned to moved to California when their lease expired at the end of May.
Gardner described his daughter as “outgoing and friendly.” He said she was hoping to move into management at the restaurant chain.
Sarcia said he met Gardner in eighth grade when he played football and she was a cheerleader.
He said he never heard the gunshot the night Gardner died.
“I was with the baby, it sounded like a rumbling in the hallway. It happened in a 15-second period. I saw the one guy throw her down. I grabbed a knife and hid the baby, called the police and screamed.”
Sarcia is convinced Gardner fought for her life.
“She realized they were coming in to kill all of us, I believe she fought. They took what they could — $85. I just want him caught.”
Henderson and Michael A. Craig, 22, of Merrillville, and William Blasingame III, 30, of Harvey, Ill., are facing a murder charge and a second count of murder in the perpetration of a robbery in Lake Superior Court.
Anyone with information on the killing can contact Schererville police at 322-5000.