Christmas is a time for celebrating family and friends, but for the friends and family of Margaret Sweet, who was murdered on Christmas Eve 10 years ago, the holidays are anything but happy.
“She was Christmas,” said Paul Egger, her younger brother.
“Christmas is just kind of not,” he said.
On December 25, 2008, Egger found out his older sister had been murdered.
“We haven’t put up a Christmas tree really since she passed,” he said.
According to Colorado Springs police, Margaret, or “Mae” to her friends and family, was shot just before midnight on Christmas Eve at her home on the east side of Colorado Springs.
“She laid there until my father found her the next morning,” Egger said.
Egger’s father then had to break the news to his son.
“I thought he was just calling to wish me Merry Christmas,” Egger said. “You can’t ever prepare yourself for that, and just knowing who my sister was and how positive she was, how she loved everybody, I couldn’t imagine why somebody would do that to her. It was just such a foreign idea.”
Neighbors would later tell police they heard a man shouting before the gunshot, and police believe the shooting wasn’t random.
“Based on our investigation, we believe that the person was someone either known to Margaret Sweet, someone she expected, someone she was familiar with,” said Detective J.F. Somosky with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Somosky said Mae was shot at close range, so it’s likely her killer was someone she trusted.
“That person knows who he is,” Somosky said.
Mae was 38 years old when she was killed. According to her brother, she was one tough lady.
“My sister was not, she was never going to be controlled,” Egger said. “She was never going to be kept in a box, or kept in a corner. She wanted to live life and live every bit of it.”
But according to her best friend, she was also afraid.
“The day Mae died was Christmas Eve, and she had been at my house,” Tammy Matthies said.
Matthies said Mae was going through a difficult breakup and was trying to get away from her ex-boyfriend.
“She was very fearful and he had beat her up pretty good. She had a lot of bruises on her torso,” Matthies said. “He had threatened to shoot her, is what she had told me.”
Matthies told her to get help, and thought Mae was doing everything right.
“She sought the assistance of TESSA,” she said. “They were helping her with some counseling.”
But she would later find out the two were still in contact.
“She was doing all those things, except for don’t talk to him and meet him,” Matthies said. “That’s the one part she wasn’t doing.”
“I knew she had some problems in the past with ex-boyfriends, but you never think anybody is ever going to do anything like that,” Egger said.
Somoksy wouldn’t name any suspects, but he was clear that no one has been ruled out.
“We will find a way to successfully identify the suspect and bring that person to justice,” he said.
For Egger, justice means a conviction.
“I wouldn’t want the case to be dismissed and I wouldn’t want the wrong person to be prosecuted,” Egger said. “But the person that did do it, being able to see them go to jail for what they did that night would mean so much to me and my family.”
Egger said the last 10 years have been hell.
“You have no idea what you’ve put my family through,” he said.
He’s hopeful someone will finally come forward and end his family’s suffering, before it’s too late.
“My dad’s health is starting to fail,” Egger said. “Part of him died that day.”
Police say they need someone to do the right thing.
“Someone out there has information,” Somosky said. “It’s been 10 years. She was a member of our community, a loved daughter, and her life was taken well before its time, and we’re not going to stop pursuing this investigation.”
Her brother isn’t going to stop either.
“What keeps me going is I know that’s what my sister would want,” Egger said. “She was very strong-willed and she would want this to come to an end.”
“If there are people in the community who would like to come forward and share that information with us, we can keep them confidential and safe,” Somosky said.
“Just being able to put a bow on it,” Matthies said. “She’s never going to come back and that’s hard, but to be able to end it.”
Egger said if he had a chance to talk to his sister one more time, he would tell her how much he loved her.
“I would tell her that I miss her and that I love her, that I’ve really kind of picked up her work with taking care of lost animals and where I work if there’s ever a stray cat or a stray dog, they always come to me and I take care of them,” he said. “I take care of them the best I can because I know that’s what she would want, that’s what she would do.”
Somoksy said people can report tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers or directly through CSPD’s dispatch center and detectives will meet with them and speak with them and address any concerns before any information is exchanged.
Somosky said a few days before her murder, Mae encountered a group of people at a local convenience store and there was a verbal argument. Police were never able to identify those people and would still like to meet with them.
“If someone has any information regarding them, we would like to talk to them and determine if they are suspects or if they have any information that might benefit the ongoing case,” Somosky said.
To contact Colorado Springs police, call them at 719-444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP (7867).