Crime scene tape surrounds the property at 2660 Shipton Rd. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 where the body of Kandi Sprague was found. Sprague was reported missing on July 22 and her husband Davin Sprague has been arrested and charged with first degree murder. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal) | Buy Journal Photos


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Friends remember ‘bubbly, sweet’ woman

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

About nine years ago, when Mara Smith found out who her biological father was, she also discovered she had a half sister who was only a year younger than her: Kandi Sprague.

Last week, the Independence, Mo., woman waited and worried with other family members when they realized Sprague, 28, was missing. On Monday, the rural Saline County woman was found — but not alive.

“I don’t even know how to feel right now,” Smith said Wednesday. “I haven’t had as much time with her as everybody else has. I wish I could have seen her more.”

Sprague’s husband, Davin R. Sprague, made his first appearance by television hookup in Saline County District Court Wednesday. Sprague, 36, who was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Kandi Sprague’s death, has a preliminary hearing scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 17.

Smith said she became close to Kandi when both women were pregnant and living in the Kansas City area in 2004 and 2005.

“We took baby classes together,” she said. “That’s when we really bonded. She didn’t have the best life, but she had her family. Her girls were her world.”

Smith said Kandi, the mother of three young girls, had not given any indication to her recently that anything was seriously wrong.

“I just remember her repeating over and over how much her family meant to her, and how much the girls meant to her,” she said.

Smith said Kandi “put up with a lot. She endured a lot.”

“I just know that she wasn’t a mean person,” she said. “She didn’t deserve this. I know if she could turn back time she would have done things differently.”

‘Like a sister to me’

Lannette Wood, of Chanute, described Kandi as “like a sister to me.” She and Sprague met at church about four years ago when the Spragues and Wood were living in Humboldt.

Wood said she met Kandi Sprague at a time when she really needed a friend because Wood’s husband had recently been killed in Iraq.

“She helped keep me busy with her three little babies,” Wood said. “She always would put her needs and her stuff aside and listen. She was always bubbly and happy.”

Wood said she and Sprague had maintained a close friendship even after they moved apart. Wood came to Saline County for a visit with Kandi in March and April, and she was planning to come again before school started.

Controlling and abusive

She said she was not as fond of Davin Sprague, who she believed to be controlling and abusive. However, during her recent visits Kandi had assured her things were getting better.

“I didn’t see this coming because she said they were getting along, and he did seem OK,” she said.

During the March visit, Wood said they celebrated all three of the Sprague girls’ birthdays because one was born in February, one in March and one in April.

“We had a big birthday bash, and the girls had so much fun,” she said. “She loved them to death. That was her life.”

Wood said that when she and Sprague got together they would go out to eat, walk around Walmart, go to a club and “laugh, cut loose, relax and have so much fun.”

“We would watch movies and play with the girls at her house,” she said.

Wood said she remembered the time when Sprague visited her in Chanute, and they ended up at a lake joking around about fishing in the dark.

“She was always bubbly when we were out together,” she said. “I’m really going to miss that.”

Such a sweet girl

Carrie Horn said Kandi’s mother baby-sat for her and her sister when she was young. When she got older, she baby-sat Kandi the summer Kandi turned 4. Her name was Kandi Thouvenall.

“She couldn’t pronounce her last name,” Horn said. “She would say her name was Kandi Fingernail.”

She said Kandi was a sweet girl who would talk to her every time she saw her.

“Everyone’s remembrances seem to be what I remember of her, a very sweet girl who thought the best of a world that had not been easy on her,” Horn said. “She was upbeat and positive every time I ever saw her.”

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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