Missing & Murdered: Cara Holley's parents speak out for the firs - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Missing & Murdered: Cara Holley's parents speak out for the first time

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Cara Holley with her father Michael Holley. The teen was murdered in Roanoke. Her parents want the community to know how special Cara was to so many people. Cara Holley with her father Michael Holley. The teen was murdered in Roanoke. Her parents want the community to know how special Cara was to so many people.
18-year-old Cara Holley before she was murdered in Roanoke County. 18-year-old Cara Holley before she was murdered in Roanoke County.
Cara Holley in Roanoke. Cara Holley in Roanoke.
Cara Holley. Cara Holley.
 It's hard to look at pictures of the beautiful teen with her brown curly hair and big smile and not be angry. It's an anger that runs deep for family and friends of 18-year-old Cara Holley.

The teen was horrifically murdered by a high school classmate in Roanoke County. It's almost four years later and her parents, Michael Holley and Lisa Cowling ,still can't believe she's gone.

"It's too hard to describe in a way," Cara's father Michael Holley says. "I mean it's everybody worst nightmare. There's no way to describe it. You go numb and you don't even feel human for a while."

"I keep expecting her to walk through the door." Cara's mother Lisa Cowling says. "For over three years, her shoes were over by the door."

This is the first time Cara's parents have agreed to do an interview on-camera since their daughter was murdered. They want people to know about their daughter and where she was going in life.

"Her personality, with her sense of humor was tremendous, because she could laugh at herself and if someone wasn't having a good day, she could use that to make your day better and I think that's why so many people thought so much of her," Holley says.

Cara was born with one arm, but her parents say it didn't stop her from being a cheerleader, playing soccer, or working at a nursing home.

"I knew that she would do everything everyone else would do. Some people doubted that," Cowling says. "She was patient and determined and she was happy. She was the happiest baby and happiest kid."

She was a teen who understood being different. Her parents are still working with police to figure out the timeline of Cara's death, but they say it might have been kindness that connected her to her killer. Shane Padgett was a fellow high school student and was found guilty of her death.

Padgett is charged with capital murder and faces the death penalty. His sentencing is March 17th.

In court, Padgett says he contacted several other girls on Facebook and told them he was going to commit suicide. He says Cara was the unlucky one who responded.

The details of how he killed her are gruesome and include her being beaten with a tire iron and raped.

However, that's not how these parents want people to remember their daughter.

"She was beautiful and loving and I can't believe it's been as long as it's been," Holley says. "Sometimes you loss your sense of time. I'm so scared I'm going to forget things about Cara and it scares you to death."

Lisa says it could have been anyone's daughter. She hopes other parents will hear Cara's story and hold their children tight.

"That's why I think 'Help Save the Next Girl' is a good campaign and needs to be nationwide, if not worldwide, because it just brings awareness to be aware of your surroundings and be aware of what's happening," Cowling says. "Cara had no idea this person was going to hurt her. She was kind to this person. It's important to me because I don't want anybody else to have to feel this kind of pain or go through what we have gone through."

It's a pain this family says runs deep without their little girl.

WATCH PART 2 OF 'MISSING AND MURDERED'


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It's hard to look at pictures of the the beautiful teen with her brown curly hair and big smile and not be angry. It's an anger that runs deep for family and friends of 18-year-old Cara Holley.

The teen was horrifically murdered by a high school classmate in Roanoke County.
 
It's almost four years later and her parents Michael Holley and Lisa Cowling still can't believe she's gone.

"Its too hard to describe in a way," Cara's father Michael Holley says. "I mean it's everybody worse nightmare. There's no way to describe it. It's actually worse than what you think. You think you know what the worse thing could be, but until it happens, it's deeper and harder. You go numb and you don't even feel human for a while."

"I keep expecting her to walk through the door." Cara's mother Lisa Cowling says. "For over three years, her shoes were over there by the door."

This is the first time Cara's parents have agreed to do an interview on camera since their daughter was murdered. They want people to know about their daughter and where she was going in life.

MORE NEWS ON CARA HOLLEY.

 We will have Cara's story tonight on WSLS at 6 p.m. Her story is a part of WSLS 10 reporter Katie Love's 'Missing and Murdered' special.


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