Krystle Dikes' family remembers independent, friendly young woman

The family of Krystle Dikes held a press conference on Saturday, Jan. 18, to share their memories of the 20-year-old girl who died in a shooting at a local grocery store on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Posted on Jan. 18, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 18, 2014 at 12:05 p.m.

ELKHART — Krystle Dikes had the world at her feet and was making plans to get her life started when she died, her family said.

Dikes was 20 year old when she was shot and killed while working at a Martin's Super Market on Wednesday night, Jan. 15.

The man who shot Dikes and 44-year-old Rachelle Godfread, was shot and killed by police shortly after.

Her family, shocked by the news, is grieving the memory of the woman who her father, Shaun Dikes, said "touched so many lives."

"We are better people because of the joy you brought us," Shaun Dikes said tearfully during a press conference on Saturday morning, Jan. 18.

Joining him was Jaunita Whitacre, Krystle Dikes' mother, and her stepparents Charlotte Dikes and David Whitacre. The four parents met with Pastor Phil Byars and the media at First Baptist Church on Saturday morning to talk about Krystle Dikes.

The parents shared stories of their daughter. They said Krystle Dikes had recently returned to Elkhart from Muncie, and was living with a friend. She was dating a man whose family had accepted her as one of their own.

Juanita Whitacre described her daughter as an independent, head-strong woman. The last time she met with her daughter was to talk about apartments. Krystle Dikes was searching for apartments and was looking forward to living by herself.

The parents said their daughter was not estranged, but was, in fact, very smart and self-reliant. When she turned 18 she moved out of her mother's house. Although her mother and father often offered her their home, she would turn the offers down and live with friends.

Shaun Dikes said Krystle fell in love with a wedding dress, and her family bought it for her even though she wasn't engaged. She had it and was keeping it for whenever her special day came.

The dress will be passed down to Krystle Dikes' step-sister, Jessica Bayless, for her wedding.

Juanita Whitacre said one attribute about her daughter that stood out to her was how friendly she was toward everyone she met.

"She accepted everyone instantly and she was their friend," she said. "She talked to people who had problems and she tried to help them. She was there for them in their hour of need."

Charlotte and Shaun Dikes talked about the family's current state of grief and how they are trying to move forward.

"I don't think it's a question about finding strength" Shaun Dikes said. "It's a question about moving ahead, because I don't feel very strong right now."

Talking about the pain they are going through, a tearful Charlotte Dikes said what the family is going through is "not day to day. It's moment to moment."

The family also took the opportunity to thank the Elkhart Police Department for their quick response, as well as the Indiana State Police, the community and their friends for their support.

The family did not talk about the criminal investigation and said they did not know whether Krystle Dikes knew Bair.

"We know as much as you do," Juanita Whitacre said.

The family will also attend a vigil planned for 8 p.m. Saturday, outside the Martin's Super Market at 3900 E. Bristol St., where the shooting took place.

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