BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Her body was found abandoned amongst the bushes near a busy road in Anne Arundel County last year.
Police say the man responsible admitted to the crime.
For the first time, Shaquana Caldwell’s friends and family are speaking out about her murder and the arrest of her boyfriend.
The arrest has hit the family hard. They always had suspicions about who did it, but now, they just want justice.
Pain is the only word Daequana Burris can utter before breaking down in tears.
She’s speaking out for the first time since her sister, 26 year-old Shaquana Caldwell, went missing last May. Her body was then discovered in a wooded area in Anne Arundel County.
Police say three weeks after her body was dumped there, a family of hikers found it.
It was so badly decomposed, Caldwell had to be identified using dental records.
“Everything. I miss calling, I miss seeing my sister,” Burris said.
On Monday, police announced the arrest of 51-year-old Taras Caldwell, who they charged with her murder.
The victim and suspect share the same last name, but are not related or married, though police believe he was her boyfriend.
Her loved ones tell WJZ’s Amy Yensi that Shaquana never told them they were in a relationship.
“I kind of figured he did it,” Shaquana’s friend Teona Jeffries said.
Jeffries says she met the accused killer and felt something just wasn’t right.
Police say he confessed to murdering Caldwell inside a Baltimore apartment after an argument, before tossing her body in Anne Arundel County.
He was caught in Park City, Utah, and arrested on a parole violation for a previous murder.
He served 17 years of 30 year sentence in that case, and was released two years ago.
Now, Shaquana’s heartbroken friends are questioning why he was allowed back on the streets.
“The system failed first of all,” Jeffries said “Like that’s my angel. So when she talks to me, I know what’s going to make her happy, and I’m going to get justice for my best friend.”
A court date for Taras Caldwell has not been set.
The family says when it’s time for him to face a judge, they’ll be there too.
Caldwell faces first and second-degree murder and assault charges.