Not a day went by in their 52 years together without Frances and her husband Harold Treadwell saying “I love you.”
Last Sunday was no exception.
Harold, a Lyft driver in Phoenix, called his 70-year-old wife just after midnight to not only tell her he loved her but to wish her a happy 52nd wedding anniversary. The couple got married just after Frances finished high school.
“He said happy 52ndanniversary,” Frances tells PEOPLE about the early morning call. “I said happy anniversary. He told me he loved me and I told him I loved him. And then we said goodbye.”
That was the last words they ever spoke to each other.
Five minutes later, the 71-year-old great grandfather was dead — a victim of a fatal gunshot wound.
“Right after we hung up it happened,” a tearful Frances says. “All I can think is that God gave me one more chance to tell him I loved him and I was able to do that.”
Police say Harold was shot around 12:30 a.m. July 28 near 32nd Street and Baseline Road in Phoenix. The unknown killer fired the shot from outside the car, KNXV-TV reports.
“We don’t know much more than he suffered a gunshot wound and died,” Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Maggie Cox told the station. “We are really depending on anybody that we have not already talked to, to call us.”
It’s unclear if he was targeted or if the shooting was random.
Frances says after she spoke to her husband, she went to bed. However, she didn’t sleep well, so she called him at 4 a.m. He didn’t pick him up. She fell asleep and was awakened by her son, who said a detective was at the door.
“It is your worst nightmare,” she says. “That knock on the door.”
Frances hopes witnesses will come forward and help the police track down her husband’s killer.
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Frances says Harold had been a Lyft driver for two-and-a-half years to make extra money for trips to the Grand Canyon.
“It was our fun trip money,” she says. “That was our special place. We made trips there all the time.”
Frances described her husband as a “very likable man.”
“He had so much life left in him,” she says. “He had so much more to give. He was a large man. … The rolly polly belly. Physically he looked like Santa Claus and his nature was that way, too.”
She wants to warn other rideshare drivers of the potential dangers involved.
“You never know where your ride will take you,” she says. “He didn’t particularly like that area and he said he was heading back north. If you are a driver, you need to listen to your gut and if you feel you are in an unsafe area, get out of there.”
“I want whoever did this to pay for what they did,” she adds. “I would never dream this would happen to me or my family.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family friend to help pay for cremation expenses.