If someone was having a bad day at the Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown law firm in Springfield, they might come back to their desk in the afternoon to find a couple of pieces of chocolate sitting there.
The woman behind the anonymous pick-me-ups was Racheal Sanders, who worked as a legal assistant at a few stops in the area.
“She was a pleaser for sure and she wanted everybody to be happy,” said Alicia Ware, a former co-worker of Sanders.
Ware and many others were devastated when they heard the news that Sanders — known for her strong work ethic and positive attitude — was beaten to death earlier this week at her home in Republic.
Sanders’ fiance, Shane Mackey, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
“I was just shocked to hear that this happened to her,” Ware said. “Of any person in the world that this could happen to, I would never imagine it happening to Racheal.”
Ware said Sanders, 42, was a single mom whose top priority was caring for her son, Seth, and making sure he was in the best position to succeed.
Ware said she’s heartbroken that Sanders won’t be around to watch her son as he starts his own adult life.
“She was a very hard worker,” Ware said. “Her son meant the absolute world to her. Everything she did was for her son.”
Over the past week, Ware said she has been thinking back on Sanders’ endless patience and positivity as well as the fun they had during social gatherings outside of work.
But Ware and many others close to Sanders have also been asking themselves what they missed and what, if anything, they could have done to help Sanders escape her abusive relationship.
Ware said she wished Sanders had said something to her friends about what was going on at home, so they might have been able to intervene.
In her grief, Ware has been moved to action. She partnered with a local company called Legally Stated Apparel to create T-shirts that read “Stop Violence End the Silence.”
The shirts are being sold for $30 with proceeds being donated to Harmony House, Springfield’s domestic violence shelter. They can be purchased at LegallyStatedApparel.com.
Ware said she’s hopeful that raising money and awareness for Harmony House might lead to one person getting out of a dangerous domestic relationship.
“If you are going through this, please, please, please reach out,” Ware said.
Mackey, the man accused of killing Sanders, is being held in the Greene County Jail without bond. Authorities say that before this week Mackey had been arrested seven previous times for domestic violence but somehow avoided prison.