Dozens of cars lined the parking lot where the SunTrust Bank once stood, revving their engines in honor of Jessica Montague, a mother and SunTrust employee who went to work, parked her car, and never made it home.
The first anniversary of the horrific murders brings back old wounds in the tight-knit Sebring community, still shocked by the evil that took place.
Montague was one of five women shot and killed inside the bank.
Jermaine “Maine” Montague said he bought a Ford Mustang to fix up with his wife. Sadly, Jessica “Jess” Montague never lived to see the day it would be finished.
“I wake up, and I take it day by day,” Montague said. “It’s definitely not easy. I do the best that I can. I have a great support system, my kids, they are basically my backbone now.”
Sebring police said Zephen Xaver entered the bank for one reason, and it was not to commit a robbery. His sole purpose that day was to kill. Tragically, five women lost their lives. Cynthia Watson, 65, Marisol Lopez, 55, Ana Piñon-Williams, 38, Jessica Montague, 31, and Debra Cook, 54.
The victims were loved immensely by family and friends. They were mothers, daughters, wives, grandmothers and caretakers. Montague said he is now raising their 3-year-old daughter Paris by himself.
“We talk about her mom every day. She asks about her mom every day. We have pictures right by the bed, so we don’t forget, and that’s an everyday conversation for us,” Montague said.
As engines roared out of the bank parking lot, the organizers hoped Jess was watching from heaven above.
“We wanted to honor and commemorate Jess and for her to see as many cars as she can in heaven,” Daffne Cruz with Strictly Royal Racing, who organized the event said. “Every day, we talk about her. Some days are harder than others. Some nights are harder than others. We got a lot of kids we gotta keep positive for, and building her car for her in her honor.”