Four charged in death of Rockdale woman

Four people have been charged with capital murder in Milam County after the body of a 34-year-old woman was found in a shallow grave.

“A big part of me is gone, a big part I'll never get back, a big part of this family we'll never get back,” said Emily Hacker’s mother Terri Wilson. 

Emily had been missing since the early morning hours of Thursday, January 19.

“I had somebody ask me if she was dead Friday morning,” said Donnie Clark, the father of Emily’s two children. 

After rumors in the small Texas town of Rockdale started flying, Clark called police to report her as a missing person. Those who loved her feared the worst, but they didn't want to believe it.

“She was a handful sometimes. She was high-spirited, she had a great personality, she never met a stranger, she loved everybody,” Wilson said. 

On January 30, a property owner in Lyons found Emily’s body in a shallow grave. Police, with help from the Texas Rangers, charged four suspects with her death.

“I am grateful for everything they did to help find my baby,” said Wilson.

All four of those arrested were originally charged with aggravated assault, but those charges were upgraded after Emily’s body was discovered. Ashley Zawadzke, Candice Jones, Edward Barry and John Stewart face capital murder charges for their alleged involvement.
“They're not human to me. I just can't believe somebody would just stand there and watch somebody else. I can't wrap my head around it,” Wilson said. 

The cause of Hacker’s death has not been released, but her family says the 34-year-old mother of two was well known in the Rockdale community as a young mother with a big heart who sometimes struggled with her own demons.

“She didn't deserve this.  I didn't deserve to lose my daughter. My grandkids didn't deserve to lose their mother. She didn't deserve it. She was too good of a person,” Wilson said. 

“It was just a messed up thing that went too far. I mean, I can't make any excuses for anybody, but they do deserve what they gave. I believe that,” Clark said.

Emily's mother said there's only one way to get justice for the pain her daughter's killers have caused her family. She wants those involved to face the death penalty instead of life in prison.

“They would still get to see their families and talk to their families. I don't get to see my baby. I'll never get to talk to her again. And to me that just won't work,” said Wilson. 

Under Texas law, a person can be charged with capital murder if they intentionally commit murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit another serious crime.

There is an account set up at the Rockdale Federal Credit Union in Emily’s name to raise money for her two boys. They also have a GoFundMe account here

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