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‘Her wounds were just so bad’

A community’s heart is broken. That’s how friends and colleagues see the brutal death of Amy Wilcox.

Wilcox, 38, died late Friday afternoon in the burn unit of a Cincinnati hospital from injuries suffered from apparent domestic violence. She was allegedly assaulted in her home the evening of April 30 by her estranged husband with an accelerant.

“She was such a humble person. So caring. She just never had an unkind thought about anybody,” said Julia Simmons, a fellow member of Community Missionary Baptist Church. It was Simmons who alerted the county of Wilcox’s death through the church’s Web site.

Wilcox had remained in critical condition with third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body.

“She started doing well, but the human body can only take so much,” Simmons said. “She just couldn’t take it. Her body wasn’t able to heal. The wounds were just so bad. A lot of people are in such shock. They don’t want to talk.”

One of those is one of Wilcox’s closest friends, Donna Blair, Simmons said. The two women were in charge of the Cubbies program at their church where they taught Bible studies to youngsters 2 to 5 years old every Wednesday night.

“The children just melted in her arms,” Simmons said. “She was always there. She was just so faithful to the church, to God, to her family. What happened to her was just tragic.

Authorities allege that Tom Wilcox, 38, her estranged husband, went to her home, assaulted her and then set her on fire. She was first taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va, then by helicopter to the Cincinnati hospital.

Wilcox worked with the special education students at the Collins Career Center and as an interventionist for the Ohio Graduation Test. She had taught at Collins for the past two years.

“We are just kind of in shock and have been since this happened. The whole school has poured out their hearts to that family,” Steve Dodgion, Collins superintendent, said.

“She was a great teacher, a very positive person. The kids loved her. The staff loved her. Everyone is devastated, but it is mild compared with what the family is going through.”

At a bond hearing in Lawrence County Municipal Court Friday morning Judge Donald Capper set a $10 million bond for Tom Wilcox, also 38, the man accused in the lethal assault. That hearing was held prior to the death of Amy Wilcox.

Tom Wilcox was also hurt in the incident and was hospitalized in the burn unit of a Louisville, Ky., hospital until this past Wednesday when he was brought back to Lawrence County.

Because of his injuries, he is currently housed in the Scioto County Jail where he can receive treatment.

Capper appointed Mike Gleichauf to be Wilcox’s public defender attorney and set a preliminary hearing for 2 p.m. June 19. At that time Wilcox was facing charges of felonious assault, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson and attempt to commit aggravated murder.

A special grand jury will be convened at a later date. The case is expected to be prosecuted by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

The couple had two children, Trevor, 16, and Emily, 11. They are in the care of Amy Wilcox’s family.

“Just pray for the family. Pray for those kids,” Simmons said. “Right now, the kids are okay. But whenever everyone starts going away that is when the loneliness will set in. … Amy is not in pain anymore. She is probably in glorious celebration. I have not a doubt.”