URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – A father is in jail, accused of killing his 34-year-old daughter. Latoya Gwin was shot and killed two months ago, but we’re learning more details about her and the case every day.
A close friend is now speaking out about this tragic loss and what it means to live without her.
69-year-old Raymond Gwin never denied he shot his daughter. On July 14, he told police he shot her in self defense, claiming she hit him with a hammer. But two months later, Champaign police discovered hours of recorded audio on his cell phone – including the moment of the shooting.
The state’s attorney said police could hear 34-year-old Latoya Gwin yelling in the recording, saying her father hit her with a hammer, and that she would call the police.
And then a gunshot.
“She died a week after my birthday,” Courtney Anderson-Butts said.
Anderson said Latoya Gwin was her best friend.
“She was such a beautiful soul. She was a little bit younger than me but to know her is to love her,” she said.
She said it’s still hard for her to talk about the day she found out Latoya was gone.
“It took me a minute. It took me a minute… Thankfully people were there to kind-of just lift me back up,” she said.
She wants people to know what Gwin was like before the unthinkable tragedy. She said Gwin loved salsa dancing and singing.
“She had that voice that would just catch you and just hold you together and just bring you back from whatever – if you were in a bad mood, she would bring you back up,” she said.
She said they talked every day, and their 7-year-old daughters were born 11 days apart – bringing them even closer.
“If you didn’t get the chance to meet her, I wish you would’ve. Then you can understand exactly what the feeling is to lose somebody like that at such a young age,” she said.
Raymond Gwin is now charged with first-degree murder. Anderson said she doesn’t want to comment on that case. But I asked her if she thinks it will bring Latoya justice.
“I think this is the beginning step, and I’ll leave it at that,” she said.
Anderson said she and some other close friends will be having a personal gathering to say goodbye, but it won’t be easy.