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Posted: 9:49 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013
By Nate Stewart
GASTONIA, N.C. —
"And this picture was just taken three weeks ago with her youngest daughter who's 12, Carly," said Dan Miller.Picking up the memories of his stepdaughter, Miller described Tabitha Heavner as a woman who always had a smile on her face."We are very saddened with what we are going through and it has been a trying time since Wednesday, but we are getting through," he said.Last week, prosecutors said Heavner's ex-boyfriend broke into her home in Newton and forced her into his car. Then, trying to escape, she jumped from the moving car and was killed.Miller wanted to speak with Eyewitness News so he can share this message:"Maybe this could be a wake-up call. If you're struggling, if there are signs of difficulty there, get out, move on. While you can," Miller said.Miller and dozens of others who knew and loved Heavner, peacefully and tearfully, laid her to rest on Sunday afternoon in Lincolnton – something that no parent should ever have to do."I would want to tell her one more time how much I love her and care for her. I wish I could have been there and protected her," he said.Miller says the 40-year-old mother leaves behind three kids and a loving family. He hopes her tragic story can prevent others like it."We love Tabitha but if this could help someone else to say hey, that could be me, and then please, I look at you and say get out now," he said.Heavner's ex-boyfriend is in jail Sunday night, facing several chargers including kidnapping and murder.Aaron Compton Jr. made his first appearance in court Friday, and a judge denied him bond.
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