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Murder devastates family “I will never get over losing my sister.”

Peggy Thornton Lammers

by Tom Chillemi

The murder of Peggy Thornton Lammers has devastated her entire family, said her sister Anne Thornton Fergusson.

Lammers was found murdered in the family cottage on Stove Point Road in Deltaville on July 11, 2017.

This week Fergusson reached out to the Southside Sentinel with information in an email that she intended to be used for this story.

The cottage was a happy place, but now holds a horrible memory. “I will never get over losing my sister, my best friend, in our favorite place on earth in such a violent and cruel way,” wrote Lammers.

The cottage is quiet now. Around are reminders of better days—small boats, a driftwood collection and charcoal grills. A single tennis ball, probably a dog’s toy, sits on the gray deck in front of empty chairs.

In the narrative that follows Fergusson shares background on her sister, family and events leading up to her sister’s murder. “My goal is to keep Peggy’s name in the news, hoping that it will prompt someone to come forward with information, but also to provide an understanding of who the murdered woman was . . . my sister Peggy,” wrote Fergusson. “The only thing sustaining me through this difficult time is to do anything I can to help this be solved and not forgotten.”

Fergusson wrote she had actually heard her sister’s murder referred to as “old news” by a Saluda resident. “This is not and will never be old news,” replied Fergusson in her email.

Major M.E. Sampson of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office said on Monday investigators are still awaiting analysis of crime scene evidence by the State Forensic laboratory. “They are backed up,” he said. Middlesex investigators are having conversations with the lab twice a week hoping to speed things up.

“This is not ‘old news,’ ” said Major Sampson. “It has been, still is and will remain the top priority of this sheriff’s office.” Middlesex investigators have been working with investigators from other jurisdictions to solve the murder, Major Sampson added.

Meanwhile, the pain of losing her sister Peggy has not eased for Anne Thornton Fergusson.

Anne Thornton Fergusson, sister of the late Peggy Thornton Lammers, wrote the following for publication in the Southside Sentinel. She details the life of Peggy, a loving and funny sister, wife, mother and aunt who was taken tragically from her family—leaving a void that will never be filled. 

What was once a happy place now holds horrible memories of the murder of Peggy Thornton Lammers. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Anne Thornton Fergusson

Our parents, Dr. John L. and Marjorie L. Thornton, built the cottage on Stove Point in Deltaville in 1970 for their family of five to enjoy. The cottage has been a family gathering place for my parents; brother, Jack Thornton, his wife and three children; my sister, Peggy Lammers, her husband and three children; my husband, two children and myself (and many family dogs). The cottage has been a favorite place on earth to all of these people, filled with many happy family memories . . . and now this horrific crime. 

Our mother Margie passed away in January of 2015 in Richmond, where my parents raised their three children. Since this time my sister Peggy, who had moved to Gates Mills, Ohio, in 1986 with her family, had been visiting Richmond often to help our father. Peggy’s children were grown, her husband was busy with work, and Daddy enjoyed her company. In February of 2016 our father was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. This diagnosis left my father with no immune system to fight infection. He received blood and platelet transfusions weekly, he would wear a mask when going to his many doctor appointments, and he was in and out of the hospital for the next nine months.

Peggy came to Richmond on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 and stayed with our father 24/7. She cooked for him, ran errands, drove him to his doctor appointments, and sat at his bedside when he was hospitalized on several occasions. Our brother Jack and I also helped with Daddy, but Peggy went above and beyond with her constant care for him. Peggy’s husband and children visited several times during our father’s illness. Our father passed away on November 2, 2016. Since my father’s death, Peggy traveled back and forth from Ohio to Richmond and Deltaville as the three of us dealt with settling our parents’ estate.

On Monday, June 26, Peggy returned to Richmond from Ohio after celebrating Father’s Day and her son’s birthday. She stayed with my family in Richmond and we all went to Stove Point on Friday, June 30, for the July 4th weekend. Peggy’s husband and older daughter joined us at the cottage on July 1st. Peggy, my son and I returned to Richmond on Wednesday, July 5th (our husbands had left the cottage on July 4th to return to work in Richmond and Ohio). 

On Saturday, July 8, Peggy went to Stove Point alone to stay for a few days to clean and organize the cottage. I spoke with her several times on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, July 8, 9 and 10, as did her children and husband. None of us were able to reach her on Tuesday, July 11, prompting a call to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, which discovered her murdered. This news has left all of us devastated and in a state of disbelief.

Peggy was a loving mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt and friend. She was hilariously funny and fun to be around. She was loved by many. I will never get over losing my sister and my best friend in our favorite place on earth in such a violent and cruel way. I am very discouraged that this horrific crime is no longer considered news by some in the Middlesex community. I actually heard it referred to as “old news” by a Saluda resident. This is not and will never be “old news.” I would like to see it mentioned weekly in the Southside Sentinel until the killer is apprehended. This Middlesex community has been far too important in the lives of me and my extended family to have this horrific and violent crime be considered ‘old news.’ ”

posted 09.13.2017

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