Jacqueline Plummer wiped the tears from her eyes as she talked about how she and her five children were going to survive now that her husband, Martin, had been murdered a few weeks ago. The family lives in Lehigh and Jacqueline says her life is upside down and she doesn't know yet what direction or what path she must take in order to raise her kids and maintain a roof over their head.
Her husband was shot in the neck during a robbery at their home on March 20 on W. 12th Street off of Sunshine Boulevard Three suspects have been arrested and charged for the murder. one was a transient, the other lived in Lehigh and the third lived in Cape Coral.
Jacqueline said she had just left to take a walk with her children and the children of some friends - she had been gone for about 20 minutes - and when she came back and walked into her home, she found her husband lying in a puddle of blood.
Jacqueline Plummer, holds a T-shirt of her husband’s. Just holding it makes it feel that he is near. Still grieving over his loss, she must find a way to keep her five children together without her husband’s income.
"It was a nightmare and my life has turned upside down. I don't know what to do and how to make ends meet. I pray to God for help and many of my friends are helping me as much as they can, but they have their own bills and expenses, " she said.
A friend realizing the plight of her friend has opened up an account with Wells Fargo Bank and people and/or clubs and organizations who want to help the family, may go to any Wells Fargo Bank and make a deposit.
"The most urgent thing right now is the funeral and burial expenses," she said, tears running down her cheeks. The funeral cost me $8,000 and I had a friend who has lent me the money to pay them up front, but I have to pay her back, because she needs her money.
"Then I have no marker for my husband at the cemetery which is on SR82. They want $1600 for a ground marker and $900 for a bench. I guess I will have to find the money for a bench, but I don't have it now," she continued.
When she found her husband lying dead in the front living room of their home, she said it is a sight she won't ever forget. She said blood was everywhere, all over the tile floor and the furniture and with the help of friends, the tile has been ripped up and the furniture that was ruined had to be replaced and was by the United Way.
She and her friends had contact professionals who could come into the house and do a cleaning job, but the cost was $15,000 and there was no way they could pull enough money together so Jacqueline and some friends got on their knees and ripped out tiles, moved furniture outside that had been ruined.
"It was something we had to do and it hurt so much to have to do it," she said.
Jacqueline said she and her late husband had no savings put away because it took every cent they made to pay their mortgage and their SUV, to buy groceries and clothes for their children.
Now she stares at the ceiling, wondering how will it all end up.
"My mother is a wonderful person. She is very positive and tells me things will work out, but I don't know how we're going to pull though this," she said.
Again, weeping with red eyes, Jacqueline said the SUV the couple owned is being paid off because of insurance on the vehicle.
'But there is nothing else left," she said.
Her husband was a plumber and had just started a new job and was getting good money. His first paycheck arrived after the murder.
Her next big expense is the mortgage payment due tomorrow.
"I will be able to pay it," she said. "Thanks to God and the SSI I receive for one of the children. The house is being bought from a private lender. But she knows she can't be late with payment because the person who lent the money for the home also needs the income to pay their own bills.
"It's a struggle," she said.
H don't know what I am going to do. I just don't know yet, but my mother says it will work out," she Her husband was murdered more than two months ago and every night and several times a day, friends are there to console her and help her in any way they can. Last week was the first time that she was at night at the house with her children.
"But I couldn't sleep in our bed," she said and again tears again fell down her face. I slept on the couch in the living room," she said.
As for the tile in the living room and dining area where blood was soaked from the shooting, friends helped her to remove the tile. She needs around 575 square feet of file, but where the money is coming from, she doesn't know. The floors are bare cement now with bits and ridges.
She said she thought she could learn how to lay the tile because when her husband was alive, he taught her to do a lot of things. She said she helped him in a job once to put down a wooden floor. I can do a lot because of him,": she said.
Of the five children, the couple was raising, two were hers and her late husband while the others were from a previous relationship. And she said, they had seven children in the house every other week, helping to raise two of his children from a previous relationship.
"I had come to love them as my own," she said. "But the mother has taken them now."
Just behind the dining area of the house, there was once a porch and Jacqueline said she and her husband were turning it into an interior room. The two-by-fours are up but the insulation and wallboard has not yet been installed. The room is basically unlivable until the work is complete.
"Martin was good at everything he did and I helped him. Somehow I have to get this done," she said.
But all of that is on hold right now because he grieving has not stopped.
Jacqueline doesn't know if it ever will. She is on medication because of the loss of her husband and also being the per son who discovered his body in a pool of blood.
She hasn't asked for help. But others have stepped forward with offers to help. It was a friend who established the Martin Christopher Plummer Fund at the Wells Fargo Bank.
Friends stop by every day. They hug her and ask if she is okay and she nods, but her friends know she is not okay - that there is a long healing yet to come.
Of the five children, the oldest is graduating from middle school next month and she knows she will want a new dress, but where the money is coming from, she doesn't yet now. her second child, also a daughter, is 11. She has a 10-year-old boy and a six-year old girl, and then there's the little one who demands so much of his mother's time. He is three and doesn't let her get out of his sight.
Jacqueline has an associate of arts degree in medical billing and coding. It would be a job she could do to help transfer medical records to computers in a medical setting such as a doctor's office.
But she has a dilemma: how will she be able to work this summer with the children out of school. The oldest, the 13-year-old will be away all summer with her father. The second oldest is too young to care for the children at home.
And her mother, who works for a physician, works at a full-time job. But she says things will work out," Jacqueline whispered.
Anyone in the community who wants to help this family, now without a father, can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and leave a financial gift. There may be other things some in the community can do for her. Any and all help is welcome.
But for the present, she needs to pay for the funeral expenses and try to mark her husband's grave. She is able to receive some assistance through food stamps, but without her husband's income, the job ahead is bleak and it will depend on friends and others to help this family to survive.