By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 15, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Monday, the body of Shanique Baker returned to Tallahassee after spending nearly a month in China following her April 12 death.
"My baby is finally home," said Lisi Melett, Baker's mother.
Getting the body back is something the family has worked hard for.
"You see, I got this big ole smile on my face."
Now that Baker's body has been sent back, her mother has no longer been concentrating on her death, but rather on her life.
"Her heart was big as the world. She was always upbeat, always," Melett said. "You never could tell when she was down or something was bothering her because she always put the best on the outside."
Melett says Baker's students in China adored her. She taught English to kids of all ages for a year and loved it so much, she renewed her contract.
"That was her dream to teach and to travel, go out of the country," her mother said. "She was fulfilling her dreams. I'm very proud, still proud of my baby."
Her close friend, Janay Lovett, is also proud, saying a picture of Baker helps her cope with her death.
"I look at that every day," Lovett said. "I just think about all the good times that we've had. I know she's in a better place. She lived her life."
A life worth celebrating.
"She's no longer in pain. She's not in China by herself," Melett said. "She's going to be surrounded by friends and family and colleagues. It's going to be a celebration."
Family members are grateful to everyone who helped make it possible for Shanique's body to be returned. They received support in one form or another from family, friends, community members and elected officials.
The GoFundMe account set up to help raise the nearly $20,000 needed to ship the body skyrocketed in a matter of days.
"Some people I didn't even know. So that was like, oh my God, we don't even know half of these people. But, they heard my story, they heard my cry. Thanks, y'all made it happen for me, for us. So, again, thanks!" said Melett.
The funeral is Saturday, May 19 at 11 a.m. It will be held at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church at 615 Tuskegee Street in Tallahassee.