Bill Spake Sr. remembers his granddaughter Tabatha Heavner’s ever-present smile and easy going nature.
It’s hard for him to understand the violence that claimed her life Wednesday morning.
Authorities said the 40-year-old Heavner’s ex-boyfriend broke into her Newton home, stabbed her as she called 911 and dragged her into her car.
They drove south on U.S. 321 and at C. Grier Boulevard in Dallas, Heavner jumped out of the moving car and was struck by a vehicle. Authorities said her abductor got out and stabbed her again as she fought back. Then several more vehicles ran over Heavner, who died at the scene.
“This is something she didn’t deserve,” Spake, 83, of Lawndale said Friday.
He remembers his granddaughter in happier times.
“She always had a smile on her face,” Spake said. “She never seemed to get excited and was easy to get along with.”
Charged with murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary and other charges in the incident was Aaron Compton Jr., 49, of Granite Falls. He made a first court appearance Friday and remained in the Catawba County Detention Facility. Bond on charges of kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury was set at $500,000. No bond was set on the murder charge.
Compton and Heaver broke up in July, authorities said.
A Catawba County native and 1991 graduate of Fred T. Ford High School in Newton, Heavner studied cosmetology and took courses toward becoming a dental assistant. The mother of two daughters and a son, she was employed by Aptar Group Inc., a manufacturer of dispensing systems in Lincolnton.
The Rev. Marion Powell, one of the ministers to officiate at Heavner’s funeral service on Sunday, knew her in her adolescent and teen years when she attended Hickory’s Mountain View Baptist Church, where he was pastor.
“She was kind of shy,” Powell said. “And she was respectful, almost timid.”
Heavner was also active in children’s and youth programs.
Powell left the area for a number of years and when he returned in the early 2000s as interim pastor of Blackburn Baptist Church, Heavner and her husband were both youth directors at the church.
Heavner later divorced and Powell lost contact with her.
As he reflected on what happened to her last week, Powell said, “it’s hard to image what she went through.”
In an online guest book with Heavner’s obituary in the Hickory Daily Record, a Newton woman wrote: “I didn’t know Tabatha, but I am so moved by her courage and fight! Her children, parents and family will remain in our prayers.”
Services will be 3 p.m. Sunday at New Vision Ministries, 661 Clark’s Creek Road, in Lincolnton.
Visitation is from 2-3 p.m. at the church.
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