Sometimes when the telephone rings, Andrea Myler's heart convinces her it's her daughter, Jill Allen, calling.
Then she remembers what is too painful to forget for very long - the voice on the other end of the line can't be Jill's.Her 24-year-old daughter was beaten to death in her North Salt Lake apartment Aug. 28. Police told Myler, of Aberdeen, Idaho, that they believe Allen was killed by someone she knew.
Police believe that because there was no sign of forced entry into Allen's apartment. Myler agreed her daughter was very careful about locking her doors, but she can't believe anyone who knew Jill would kill her.
"I know they're saying (that), but Jill was such a likable person. She was just so upbeat. I can't imagine why," Myler said.
The why is the most important question to the mother of three.
"We (the family) want to know who, but more than anything, we want to know why," Myler said. "I mean, a traffic accident is one thing, but for someone to go into her own home and kill her, we just want to know why."
And while she wants to hear the killer's explanation, she realizes it will be inadequate.
"There's no reason that's going to be good enough," she said. "We just miss her."
Despite the hundreds of miles that separated Myler and her daughter, they stayed close through cards, letters and frequent, lengthy phone calls.
The telephone calls, the jokes and the companionship. Myler misses them so much that sometimes she lets herself believe it's Jill calling.
She needs to talk to her; she wants to comfort her. She is haunted most of all by the fact that her daughter was brutally beaten to death in her own home, and there was nothing she could do for Jill.
Police have refused to release many details about Allen's death, but they have said she struggled violently with her attacker and probably left the killer bruised, scratched or bitten.
"I still wonder what happened that night," she said. "How terrified was she? Fathers feel like they have to protect, and mothers are supposed to comfort. We didn't get to do that."
It is an unlikely end to a life Myler describes as jampacked with happiness.
"Some people are just here," Myler said, "and some people really make a difference. Jill made a difference."
Myler was 21 when she discovered she was pregnant with her second child. An easy child to rear, Allen was a born leader from the beginning."Nobody talked Jill into anything," Myler said. "She did what she wanted."
And what Allen wanted to do more than anything was be a hairdresser. She started to do her own hair in the first grade. At the time of her death, she was a month away from graduating from the International Institute of Hair in Bountiful.
Allen graduated from Aberdeen High School in Idaho in 1990, where she played volleyball and basketball and was a cheerleader. She was a finalist in the Junior Miss Pageant and played piano.
"Jill mastered everything easily," Myler said. "I was so proud of her. Sometimes I would stand back with my mouth open and think how did she do that, or where did she come up with that? She was just so good."
She attended Boise State College for a year before moving to Provo, where she worked in a clothing store.
"Jill loved clothes," her mother said. "She was a shopper. Jill always looked like she stepped out of a fashion magazine."
After years of working in retail clothing stores, Jill decided to make her dream of styling hair a reality.
It's the dream her daughter will never realize that pushes Myler from anguish to anger.
"I'm angry she won't get to be a mother," Myler said. "I'm angry she got to grow up with her brothers and sisters, but she won't get to grow old with them. I'm angry because Christmas is coming and she won't be here."
"Parents should not bury their children."
She hopes time will help her leave the anger behind. At one time, she thought knowing who killed her daughter might help.
"Then one day it just dawned on me," she said. "I was thinking who could have done this, and I thought no matter who did it, it's not going to bring Jill back. I can be patient."
The close-knit and religious family prays a lot to help them deal with Jill's death.
"We have to focus on where she is, instead of where she's not," Myler said. "You never think anything like this is going to happen to you. You think things like this only happen to people who are out looking for trouble, not good people just trying to live good lives.
"It's still just not a reality for us."