SEFFNER, Fla. - Still fresh from her funeral this past weekend, flowers surround Gwen Belcher's home. Inside, older sister Khadijah Dowdy said, is even more heartbreaking.
Painful reminders are everywhere, including a spot where Hillsborough County deputies removed the carpet. Dowdy said it was stained with her sister's blood. But, what bothers Dowdy the most is a wedding photo showing Christopher Belcher in better times.
"She wanted me here to protect her," said Dowdy.
Dowdy recently moved here from North Carolina. She said Gwen begged her to move to the bay area because she didn't feel safe with Christopher.
Just hours before Gwen vanished, witnesses told deputies they saw Belcher hit Gwen at a party. He was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
"I know he killed my sister," said Dowdy. "You two are the only ones in the house. She didn't kill herself and then set the car on fire."
Deputies found her burned car in Thonotosassa a few day later. There was a body in the trunk. The coroner used dental records to confirm it was Gwen. What they haven't found is a direct tie to her killer.
Prosecutors eventually released Christopher Belcher from jail. They said there's not enough evidence to prove the domestic violence charge. For now, deputies are not talking about the evidence they removed from the couple's home.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Larry McKinnon did say Belcher's not in the clear.
"We are going to look at him and anyone else who had contact with her," said McKinnon.
After Belcher's release Tuesday, he told deputies he was scared for his life and fearful of retaliation from Gwen's family. He requested an escort to get his belongings from the home they shared.
"Actually, I wish he was here because I wanted to see his face and ask why did you do this to her after she stood by all the bull you put her through?" said Dowdy.
Dowdy said the family will not rest until there is justice.
"My sister was my best friend. My sister was my rock," Dowdy said through tears.
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