Wentworth, NC -- Troy and LaDonna French's family have a powerful message for their community and the person who killed the Bethany couple.
"People ask me, '[Do] you need closure? [Do] you need closure?'" Ann French, Troy's mother, said Monday. "The closure came the day that my son was shot. I can't get him back. But I can tell the world ... that this is way we accept tragedy in this family."
That way is through forgiveness and moving forward. Over the weekend, the family opened up an ice cream shop in Wentworth called Koolies. Troy's brother and sister-in-law, Craig and Shannon French, own it. As the story goes, LaDonna and Troy constantly encouraged Craig to open up an ice cream and yogurt place. Now, it's a reality.
Ann French sat at a table in the middle of the shop Monday and talked about the strength her family has shown in trying to pull through the tragedy.
"The strength is really not me," she said. "It's Christ in me."
She has leaned on every ounce of her faith since Feb. 4, when her daughter-in-law and son were killed.
"It's hard," she said. "I miss my son. Every time I see a Duke [Energy] truck I take a second look because he was constantly in my life, just like my other two children are.
"But still, we know life goes on. And you have to go on with what's ahead of you."
For her family, forging a new memory is the next priority.
"I want to see people and I want to be able to share with them what has happened in my family," Ann said, "and that you can find faith and go on in life."
Troy and LaDonna's picture hangs over the counter. It's a reminder to every customer of the pain that's led to this perseverance -- not that anyone in this community has forgotten. Every scoop here sends a message -- especially for whoever killed the Frenches.
"I would love to tell them that there's no hatred, that my family holds nothing against them," Ann said. "Whatever it is that motivated them to take my son's life, I would like to see them come to a peace with that and be able to go on in life."
That doesn't mean the family doesn't want the killer punished. Ann said she hopes for resolution and accountability, and she believes the sheriff's office will be able to deliver it.
And as if investigators needed one more reminder of what they're working toward, the new ice cream shop is directly across the street from the sheriff's office.
WFMY News 2