"I'm never going to see her no more!" a woman cried to her family gathered on the steps of the police station in Vergennes, Vermont Wednesday morning. She clutched relatives for support and wiped away tears.
That woman was the mother of 34-year-old Yemalla Sprauve of Vergennes. Sprauve, who loved ones said was a mother of four, died under very unusual circumstances. Investigators say Sprauve died during her armed robbery attempt of a convenience store shortly after 4 A.M. Wednesday morning.
"It's shocking to all of us," said Pauline Kirkland, Sprauve's aunt, explaining her belief that a violent crime would be very out-of-character for her niece.
Police say Sprauve covered her face and walked into her neighborhood Champlain Farms store carrying a large knife and demanding cash. Police say the clerk wrestled the weapon away, suffering minor injuries. He also forced the woman to the ground.
"From all indications, he was trying to defend himself," Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said.
After another customer entered the store and called 911, rescuers found Sprauve unresponsive. She died en route to the hospital. Police Chief George Merkel would not speculate if the alleged robber had a medical condition or if she was injured in the take-down.
Until they see it, Sprauve's family will keep wondering if there was anything that could have been done to save their loved one.