It’s been a decade since LaQuetta Gunther left her best friend’s Daytona Beach house on Christmas Eve.
Gunther promised to come back in a few hours so she and her friend, Stacey Dittmer, could do what had become a holiday tradition: Stay up all night and cook a full Christmas dinner – turkey, ham, green bean casserole, yams, gravy, crescent rolls.
But Gunther never returned.
And now, every December, Dittmer puts the wooden box that holds her best friend’s ashes by the Christmas tree.
“She was my confidant, I could tell her anything,” said Dittmer, now 51, sitting in her living room and smoking cigarettes her husband just rolled. “She was the best friend a person could ever have. She had faults, we all have faults. But she was the bomb.”
Gunther, 45, was a painter and labor hall