The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 11, 2014

Woman’s murder stuns Ferndale classmates

JOHNSTOWN — A birthday card arrived at Cheryl Smith’s home on June 30. Inside, longtime friend Danette Webb had written a message that made Smith smile.

“All is well here. I am blessed in so many ways,” Webb wrote. “Every morning walking through the parking lot, I look straight up at the sky and give thanks.”

That same day, Webb was found murdered in her Albuquerque, New Mexico, home.

Word of Webb’s death made its way east through social media, leaving former friends stunned and saddened.

Webb and Smith were classmates at Ferndale Area High School, graduating together in 1978.

“She sounded really good in her card,” Smith said from her home in Shenandoah County, Virginia.

“Everything was going great. Everything was good. But ...”

According to media reports, Webb, 53, was found naked in her Southwest Albuquerque home.

Her wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape, and her mouth was taped shut.

Webb’s body was on the floor beneath her bedroom window, and the window’s screen was gone.

Co-workers went to the house looking for her after Webb didn’t report to her job that Monday.

There have been no arrests, and Albuquerque police have put out a plea for information, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

“It’s so shocking, so unbelievable,” said Jennifer (Rice) Priest, a Ferndale classmate now living in Belmont, Stonycreek Township.

“You think, ‘I understand this and I can go on. I can handle it.’ Then you start crying again.”

Classmate Jim Rigby recalled that Webb’s family moved to North Carolina shortly after she graduated from Ferndale.

“She had lived up a block or so from me,” Rigby said. “I ran around with her brothers a lot.”

The details of Webb’s death were hard to comprehend, Rigby said.

“It was brutal, from what I read,” he said.

“It was horrible,” Priest said.

“Her ex-husband called me.

“As soon as he told me who it was, I knew it was something bad.”

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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