SLAPOUT, AL (WSFA) - Losing a child seems like the worst thing a parent could ever go through. Losing your child to a violent death is unimaginable. Sadly, it happens. It happens every day all over the country. Some families fall apart, others find the strength to move on. Elmore County resident Paula Cardwell is a strong woman.
“It happened on February 15, 2012,” Cardwell said. “He waited until I left home, he came in, shot her four times, and killed her.”
Paula Cardwell’s daughter Anna Katherine never made it to her 21st birthday. A year later a man named Josh Caspari pleaded guilty to capital murder in Anna Katherine’s death. Anna Katherine’s friend was dating Caspari. She reportedly told her friend that Caspari was involved in some bad things. When he found out about it, he lost it and killed her.
“To know your child died in such a violent way, it magnifies the grief and makes it even harder to deal with.”
The pain, the hurt, the anger was crippling. They went to every court proceeding. When it was over and Caspari was sentenced to life in prison, Paula Cardwell needed to find some purpose. She found it in an unusual place.
“I’ve never owned a restaurant before. I’ve never even worked in one," Paula Cardwell said.
She has now. Cardwell opened up Anna’s Place in Slapout. It’s a country cooking, meat and three restaurant. She wants her customers to feel like they’re eating at home or at grandma’s house. And she’d love to tell you about its name.
“Every morning when I drive up I see the sign that says Anna’s Place. She would be so proud," Paula Cardwell said.
Inside, pictures and reminders of Anna are everywhere.
“All the rooms are decorated differently and named after her animals. Abigail is her horse. Bella is her dog. Chloe is her cat," Paula Cardwell said.
So Anna Katherine may not physically be here, but she’s here with her mom every day - providing support and letting her know everything is going to be okay.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Story updated to correct quote indicating Cardwell’s death was Feb 15, not Feb 12 of 2012.