FLINT (WJRT) (9/13/2018) - "Since the day she was born, she's been my firecracker. She was always the one that kept me on my toes," Jessica Flood's mom Michele Bennett said.
She sat with her sister, Jessica's Aunt Betty Bennett and Betty's daughter, Jessica's cousin, Kristen Knickerbocker, at her home Thursday morning. The three all agreed the 28-year-old always put others before herself.
Betty explained, "She wanted to make everyone happy. She wanted everyone to be proud of her, all the time. She wanted everyone to have fun, not be sad."
But the three couldn't help but tear up thinking about the girl who loved Michael Jackson, who they lost to murder two months ago.
"Still you look around and think is that her? Is that her? When is the phone going to ring and say it's not her, it was a mistake? And the phone never rings. It doesn't," Betty said.
Flood's Mom created a big memorial shortly after her daughter died. She explained, "It helps to look at it everyday and see that smile; because, that's what I remember most is that big smile. She always had that smile."
A smile Michele said masked pain for several years. After Flood's father was shot and killed in 2014, Flood started studying criminal justice at Mott Community College. She planned to become a homicide detective.
"She, you know, before all that, she was doing great, working two jobs, going to school and holding it down. And then, she just kind of fell apart after that," Flood's Mom said.
And then, her life was also cut short.
Mt. Morris Township Police said Jennifer Harrington and Aaron Thornton strangled Flood in June. Her body was stuffed under a mattress in a room at the Great Western Inn. No one knew until she was found five days later.
"I want them to suffer and I want them to feel all the things that we feel and what she felt," Kristen said.
After years of trouble at the motel, Flood's death helped police persuade a Judge to padlock the business last week.
"I just can't imagine anyone else going through this again," Betty said.
"I guess I have to look at it as if it helps the next mother, then it's a good thing," Michele added.