Kassanndra Cantrell's mother speaks out for first time since her daughter's body found, ex-boyfriend arrested

The man arrested Tuesday for the murder of Kassanndra Cantrell made his first court appearance a day later. 

The suspect, 37-year-old Colin Dudley, was an ex-boyfriend of Cantrell from over a decade ago. According to search warrants, Cantrell had confided in loved ones that Dudley was the father of her unborn baby.

Dudley was stoic as he sat in the courtroom while prosecutors asked the judge for 72 more hours to file charges against him.

Volunteers who helped search for Cantrell sat in the audience. Some were emotional and said they feel strongly that Dudley should also be charged with the murder of Cantrell's unborn baby. Her family says she was about three months pregnant.

“How should that baby not count? That’s a life, that’s a life that’s just as important as Kassanndra’s,” said Carlie Whipple, one of the volunteers who helped organize several searches.  

Cantrell's mother, Marie Smith, opted to skip today’s hearing, as she’s still trying to process the flood of new information that came with yesterday’s discovery of Kassanndra’s body, and Dudley’s arrest.

“Her brother keeps asking why? There’s no why. He’s a bad person, that’s all there was, there is no why…she literally wanted nothing from him," Marie said. 

As the court process just begins, Smith said she keeps hearing this word: justice.

“Justice - will there be justice? Justice would be trading his life for hers, if she could come back that would be justice. That’s not going to happen."

Perhaps the only mild comfort for her mother is hearing from strangers who became invested in Cantrell's story throughout the month she’d been missing.

“So many people have been to her Facebook and her YouTube and they learned about her, and said how great she was, how funny and smart and opinionated, and they love her and they didn’t even ever meet her," said Smith.

As she grapples with losing her only daughter during what was supposed to be the happiest time in her life, Smith can’t help but fixate on the timeline established by search warrants that suggest the crime was carefully planned out, while Cantrell was still at home.

“All I can think is how she must’ve been looking forward to seeing him...she’d taken so much time to get ready, to look pretty for him…and all the time, all the time…he was planning," said Smith.

Dudley’s next scheduled court appearance is Friday afternoon, when he’s expected to be formally charged.

If you would like to help Kassandra’s family, there is a gofundme set up to help cover burial costs.