Sheri Coleman's friend wants memorial for slain Coleman family members

8:00 PM, Dec 23, 2009   |    comments
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  • Meegan Turnbeaugh.

By Leisa Zigman

KSDK -- A tribute is moving forward to honor the lives of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin Coleman, the young Columbia, Illinois family found strangled in their beds last May.

The memorial is the brainchild of Meegan Turnbeaugh, who first met Sheri Coleman 10 years ago at the Joyce Meyer Ministry where they worked. While their husbands continued to work for the ministry, both women left their jobs nearly three years ago. Their friendship continued to grow.

Turnbeaugh is expected to be a key witness for the prosecution in its case against Chris Coleman, who is accused of murdering his family.

"I want the truth to come out. That is all I want. People are forgetting what happened to Sheri, Gavin, and Garett," Turnbeaugh said. "They're so worried about other things. Think about what happened. Stop thinking about yourself."

To make sure their memories live on, Turnbeaugh is spearheading a memorial to be built in Columbia, Illinois, the Coleman's home town.

"At the core of the memorial pavilion is a wishing well," Turnbeaugh said. "The first two rings that are concrete steps are nine feet in diameter and 11 feet in diameter and represents Gavin and Garett's ages."

The third ring is 31 feet in diameter and represents Sheri's age. Kirkwood architect Killian Smith, who created the plans for free, also envisions three pillars.

"These pillars will be placed so every year at noon on Mother's Day, their shadows will touch Sheri's Corner," Turnbeaugh said.

Turnbeaugh and Sheri's family launched a website detailing plans for the pavilion. With hope, donations and volunteers, the memorial will help heel a community.

So far, officials with the city of Columbia, Illinois said they are onboard but they still need to give final approval. The state's director of economic development tells NewsChannel 5 he doubts there will be any obstacles.


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