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Benton family mourns loss of murdered mother, teacher

The family of 28-year-old Krystle Wilder, a mother and preschool teacher who was killed in her own home in Benton, are remembering the person she was.

BENTON, Ark. — Among the mounting number of murders in central Arkansas was a case involving the death of a Benton woman earlier this week. 

28-year-old Krystle LeeAnn Wilder was a mother and preschool teacher who her family described as a positive person who was big on family.

"There was nobody that met her that she didn't touch and light up their world," Macey Wilder, Krystle's sister said.

She added that Krystle had the biggest heart.

"I remember she used to leave trails of Fruit Loops out to try and prawn us so she could play school with us," Wilder said.

When Macey was younger, she remembered how her sister taught her new things often. 

Perhaps that led to her passion in the classroom and role as a preschool teacher.

"She loves the kids. She connected with all of them and we've had so many parents reach out to us and say she has made such an impact on our children's lives," Wilder said.

That's an impact that Maleah Toms felt for 21 years.

"I'd like to say that I feel like she helped mold me in a way," Toms said.

Toms considered Wilder to be a role model and said that her bravery inspires her to improve her own life.

"It makes me put a whole change on things. I want to do a lot better for my life," Toms explained.

Benton Police said that 39-year-old Demontra Hatfield shot the preschool teacher during what investigators are calling a disturbance on Tuesday morning.

Authorities tell us that Hatfield left Wilder's apartment with her body and traveled to Little Rock where he allegedly killed another person.

"I just hate that she was taken. I can't blame anybody," Andrew Wilder, Krystle's brother, said. 

Her family is distraught by how she was taken from them, but they've remained positive and said that this will only bring them closer.

"It is a tragedy, but her spirit was so bright that it shines brighter than this tragedy," Wilder said. 

The family has a GoFundMe, that you can donate to by clicking here.

The money collected will help with funeral expenses and also go toward Wilder's daughter.

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