Jackie Craine would have turned 35 on Friday.
Hundreds of family and friends who loved her will get together Friday, but she will not be there – struck down, police say, by a hail of bullets in the worst kind of domestic violence.
Jackie Craine is gone.
Craine’s ex-boyfriend, James Enrico Diago, the father of Craine’s youngest child – a man with previous convictions for domestic violence – remains in jail in York awaiting trial on charges of murder, attempted murder, weapons charges and more.
Craine’ oldest son was shot and wounded on that horrible day in Fort Mill on Jan. 5.
Diago could get life in prison if convicted.
After six brutal months of mourning, Craine’s loved ones have banded together with a noble goal in mind – to make their friend the last victim of domestic violence that anybody has to grieve for.
For the next month in York, Chester and Lancaster counties, cellphones will be collected and donated to shelters and law enforcement agencies, which will in turn be given to women who have been victims of domestic violence or are seeking help.
“I have had so many women come up to me since my sister died and want to tell me their story of abuse after finding out what happened to Jackie,” said Rena Green. “I have had women tell me of beatings, punchings, worse.
“This has to stop. If we can help these people, these victims, then there is something good that can come out of this.”
Craine had called Fort Mill police for help at least twice in the months before she was killed while sitting in her vehicle in the parking lot of apartments near her home.
Just days before she was shot, Craine told people close to her that she was afraid for her life. She told them Diago had pulled a gun on her in November.
Craine had two sons and a daughter. They had moved from Lancaster to Fort Mill in 2007 seeking better opportunities for the kids. She had dreams of opening her own cosmetology business, but to take care of her children she worked long shifts in a Chester glass plant.
Shelters for battered women give victims of abuse and their children a safe place to go in a crisis, Craine’s friends say, and the phones would help those women. Law enforcement agencies that help domestic violence victims could give them phones to stay in touch with police, prosecutors – anyone who might help keep families safe.
All the phones will be refurbished and given 3,000 minutes of wireless service.
“No one should have to endure what Jackie endured,” said cousin Tia Gist-Boulware. “This collection of phones might save a woman, a family, from having to go through this.”
Craine was originally from Lancaster, but she had extended family and friends in York and Chester counties, as well. As business owners and others have heard about the cellphone collection effort, offers to help have poured in.
“People who heard of this donation and remember what happened to Jackie are ready to do what they can to end domestic violence once and for all,” said Erica Simpson, a lifelong friend. “We can all make a difference from here, but it will take people who act to stop it.”
Nothing will bring Jackie Craine back to her kids, her siblings, her parents.
But for her sister, who works at Piedmont Medical Center and has heard the stories of abuse first-hand, a legacy of helping others would be a way to help heal wounds that do not seem to have any other way to heal.
“No family should ever have to go through this,” Green said. “This is a beginning, hopefully, that can bring about the end of domestic violence.”