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‘She was just a bright light’: Family speaks after gruesome death of expectant Alton mother

By Gabriela Vidal

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    ALTON (KMOV) — Heidi Noel says her 22-year-old daughter, Liese Dodd, was a bright, loving soul.

“A beautiful smile,” said Noel. “She was just a bright light that cared for everyone. she had a big heart. She’d do anything for anyone. She’d go out of her way to help people.”

She spoke with News 4 over the phone on Tuesday about her daughter. She says Dodd grew up and went to school in Jerseyville, Illinois and just recently moved into a home in Alton.

“She had attended college and was planning on going into the medical field. I’m a nurse, and, so, she was towing with heading in that direction,” said Noel.

Dodd was also expecting and excited to welcome a baby girl due in late July. It would have been her first child.

“We were planning her baby shower for the end of this month. I had just sent out invitations the prior Saturday for the baby shower. We were just excited and gathering the items you need to have a baby,” said Noel. “She wasn’t set on a name yet. [She] said ‘my little bean.’ So, we essentially were calling the baby, ‘baby bean’.”

Yet, instead of planning for a baby shower, Noel is now facing the unimaginable pain of planning for a funeral after finding her daughter’s body last week, decapitated.

“It’s not something I wish on anybody. So, yeah, I rather not speak on that,” said Noel.

“I’m just really sad that it happened,” said April Wooten.

Wooten says Dodd was her next-door neighbor, but she did not know her very well. Still, in the couple of months Dodd had lived on Bolivar Street in Alton, Wooten says she seemed like a kindhearted person.

“I have a 3-year-old daughter, and I could not imagine, anybody putting their hands on her in any type of way, or having to find my daughter like that,” said Wooten. “I’m praying for her mom and her family as well, hoping one day they can get some type of peace.”

Dodd’s ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Deundrea S. Holloway, is now facing charges in Dodd and her unborn child’s deaths. Noel says he was not the father of Dodd’s baby, and they had been in a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship for two years.

“Because of the nature of the relationship, I made contact with her every day to check-in, so there was quite a time span that she hadn’t responded to me,” said Noel. “So, that’s what prompted me to go check on her.”

Noel said there is some relief knowing Holloway has now been charged.

“I’m glad that he’s off the streets, and that is my big hope is that he’s no longer able to do this to anyone else,” she said.

She now wants to focus on honoring her daughter for who she was and not her tragic death. Noel says she plans to have a celebration of life for Dodd and her baby, and some of Noel’s classmates are planning a display to commemorate her daughter.

“I truly appreciate the support, and I just wish she would’ve known how loved she was,” said Noel. “That she wouldn’t have ever been alone, [and] that she could’ve gotten out of this relationship and had a full life.”

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