Friends honor fellow classmate who was victim of murder-suicide


by Casey James

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 7:19 PM

PHOENIX -- Students from Desert Shadows Middle School gathered to celebrate and honor one of their own who was murdered last week.

Police said Michael Sanders, 53, murdered his wife, daughter and brother-in-law at the family's home in northeast Phoenix before taking his own life on Tuesday.

Police said the husband and wife were in the middle of a divorce.

Classmates, friends and teachers from 14-year-old Audra Sanders' school gathered Saturday evening to honor and remember her.

Close friends said only a few people knew what Audra and her mother, Carol Sanders, 51, were going through.

"The one thing that she shared with me throughout the years was, if I leave he'll kill me," said Syndee Lou Jones, a close friend of Carol's.

Carol had filed for divorce in October.

An order of protection from her husband had been modified just hours before he killed his wife, daughter and brother-in-law before killing himself.

"A week before she said, 'I'm having second thoughts, scared, I'm fearful for my life," Jones said. "She felt that no matter where she went he would find her, so she stayed until she couldn't take it anymore."

Classmates said they wanted to honor Audra and her mother the way Audra would want them to, with a song.

Audra's best friend, Darbie House, said she knows exactly what her bestie would say about the turnout, "I'm really happy. I realize people really cared about me."