In the early morning hours of January 5, Savannah Spurlock FaceTimed her mother for the last time.
The 22-year-old mother of four was in a car with two men returning from a Kentucky bar after a night out. One other man had left with them and was driving separately, her family said in a Facebook post.
She said she’d be home in a couple of hours. But Ellen Spurlock never heard her daughter’s voice again.
And when Spurlock’s best friend, Sabrina Speratos, received a call from the woman’s worried mother that morning, she knew something wasn’t right.
Spurlock would never just get up and go, leaving her children and her family behind, Speratos says.
For the next six agonizing months, her family desperately searched for answers with assistance from nearly a half dozen organizations. Her friends passed out hundreds of flyers. Local authorities followed up on multiple tips and leads, searching areas across the state for signs of the young woman. And thousands followed her relatives’ efforts on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Spurlock.
Last week, police found Spurlock’s remains and arrested 23-year-old David Sparks — one of three men she was last seen with. He has been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence, Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said.
Police testified in court Monday that Spurlock’s naked remains were found buried in a shallow grave and wrapped in a rug and garbage bags, with her feet bound.
The Garrard County property on which the remains were found belonged to Sparks’ family members, Purdy said. Officers had searched the property four months ago, but hadn’t found remains, he said.
She’d had twins weeks earlier
“I had one great friend in this world in my life and it was her,” Speratos told CNN.
Spurlock put everyone above herself, her best friend says, and was “beautiful inside and out.”
“Life before January was nothing but complete. We had each other and we had our families. Ever since then, a part of me has been missing,” Speratos said.
Spurlock gave birth to twins nearly five weeks before she went missing.
During the interview, Speratos was taking care of Spurlock’s 4-year-old and 2-year-old sons. She’s the godmother of all four kids.
“I spend a lot of time with them in hopes of giving them that love that’s missing in their lives,” she says. “I will never replace their mother but it’s something Savannah would want me to do.”
She said three of Spurlock’s sons — including the six-month-old twins — live with their father. The fourth son lives with his grandparents, Speratos said.
When she first went missing, the two oldest children would cry out for their mother, Speratos says.
“For six months, we showed them photos and videos (of Spurlock), we keep them by their bedside,” Speratos says. And they celebrated major milestones like Spurlock’s birthday as well as her sister’s birthday.
“We supported one another,” Speratos said. “Staying together and trying to support each other emotionally and physically.”
But now, the young woman’s family knows she will never come home and is now grappling with the new facts of the case and the many more questions that linger.
“It’s been a long road,” Speratos said. “This is a little bit of closure for us but definitely there are still questions as to what happened to her, when did she pass. There are so many questions.”
She was on a night out with two friends
On January 4, Spurlock went to a Lexington bar with two friends, her family said on Facebook.
Both left her at the bar — one of them had to wake up early while the other one took off after they had an argument, the family said. Police cleared both of them in the missing persons case, according to the family.
A few hours later, she was seen walking out of the bar with three men who were later interviewed by police, Purdy said. One of them was Sparks.
Around that time, her mom woke up and realized it was 3 a.m. and her daughter wasn’t home. When she called, Spurlock hung up and FaceTimed her back moments later from a moving vehicle, her family said.
“Savannah did not seem to be in distress at the time of the FaceTime call, although Ellen could tell she was intoxicated,” Spurlock’s family said.
Police investigations indicated Spurlock was last seen in Sparks’ home on the morning of January 5, Purdy said.
Sparks was taken into custody six months later — on July 11. Authorities say they’re waiting on autopsy results for a cause of death.
Speratos told CNN she was 100% certain Spurlock did not know the three men she left with.
Arrest is justice
Last week, Spurlock’s family released a statement saying they were “heartbroken.”
Days before the discovery of Spurlock’s body, her mother told CNN affiliate WKYT she was holding on to some of the best memories she had with her daughter.
“We would be grilling out, playing games, hanging with the grandbabies,” she said.
Spurlock had been going through a “rough time” before her disappearance, her family said in a Facebook post , but was hopeful about securing a job and an apartment for her sons.
The arrest feels like justice, Cecil Spurlock, Savannah Spurlock’s father told WKYT.
He told the affiliate he’ll now be turning his attention to making sure his daughter’s four children are cared for.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.