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Family Remembers Champaign Woman Killed Last Fourth of July
CHAMPAIGN-- The balloons floating to the sky, and tears falling to the ground.
It's a tribute to the 20 short years Desirae Austin lived before she was shot and killed last Fourth of July.
"I'm not able to enjoy the festivities that everyone else is enjoying. So I just pray that everyone else has a happy and safe fourth of July." said Desirae's cousin, Tasha Hughes.
Austin was caught in the crossfire between two men she didn't know.
She died later in the night leaving behind her husband James and their two kids, who are now two and three years old.
The family asked us not to show the children, but James Austin tells us it's not easy explaining to the toddlers why their mom isn't here.
"Tell them their mom is in heaven so she in a better place right now. She watching over." said Austin.
The family says Desirae's young children do understand what happened, and they miss her everyday.
So each little piece of a memory is held on to.
"I have a screensaver of her on my phone and her daughter always plays with that. I keep it there so when they play with my phone they always remember her." said Hughes.
With tears rolling down Mike DeArmond's face, he explained how the fourth of July was a long standing tradition of family and fun with his daughter Desirae, but senseless violence has stripped that away.
"We'd meet up and go barbeque all the time and enjoy this day, but now this day is like empty now." said DeArmond.
--Reported by David Ade