PLAINFIELD, Ill. --A crowd gathered for an emotional vigil in southwest suburban Plainfield tonight for a beloved teacher whose life was taken by domestic violence.
Sue Cunningham had been battling cancer and was on medical leave from Plainfield North High School. But her prognosis was good and she was due to return next year. Students still can’t believe she won’t.
Students, fellow teachers, family and friends choked back tears as they sang “Amazing Grace.” They’ve been singing the praises of a beloved 47-year-old known as Sue Brown, her maiden name, or Mrs. Tripplet. Tripplet was her surname from her first marriage.
The mother of two had been married to her current husband for a year-and-a-half, but things had been difficult. Things were rocky enough that when she went to their home last night to pick up a few things, she called police first.
“She indicated at that time that she didn’t want the officer’s presence,” said Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek. “She felt that may actually escalate things.”
A neighbor requested a well-being check after seeing Sue and only her husband came out.
Police found Sue fatally stabbed and say Craig Cunningham called relatives and confessed to the murder before driving to I-55 and walking in front of a semi. Police found a bloody knife in his car.
“Everyone loved her,” said Raymond Epperson, principal of Plainfield North. “She was well-respected. I don’t think there was a single person in the building that didn’t have something nice to say about Ms. Tripplet.”
Grief counselors were available to students and staff at the vigil, as they have been all day. Funeral arrangements are being made for Saturday and students are being encouraged to attend that as well.