Benefit set to help woman's seven children
TOLONO – A benefit scheduled for the same day as Naomi Arnette's memorial service will ensure that she – and the seven children she left behind – aren't forgotten.
The benefit, scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at CJ Dane's in Tolono, will follow Mrs. Arnette's visitation from 1 to 3 p.m. and memorial service at 3 p.m., both of which are to take place at the R.E. Franks Center at 112 W. Madison in Philo.
Mrs. Arnette was last seen May 21 and her remains were found in a shallow grave south of Sadorus on Sept. 30.
Mrs. Arnette's estranged husband, Robert, was arrested and charged last Saturday with first-degree murder of Mrs. Arnette and concealing her death.
CJ Dane's owners Connie Anderson and Jerrod Denny want to focus on helping the "seven from heaven," Mrs. Arnette's children, who are between the ages of 8 and 17. All proceeds will benefit them.
"It's very important to us that we help them as best as we can," Anderson said, especially because Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. Anderson and Denny set up a fund for the children through their bank, Anderson said.
The benefit will feature raffles and a silent auction, as well as music from Full Throttle Band and Master Blaster DJ Productions. The band starts at 5 and will play until 9 that evening. Master Blaster will start at 9 and continue until the restaurant and bar closes at 1 a.m. Sunday.
Anderson said organizers still need items for raffles and the silent auction, and cash and clothing donations are also being accepted. Anderson also suggested donations of gift cards to area stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Old Navy so the children can pick out their own clothes.
"Certainly, anything we can get for them would be very helpful," Anderson said.
Mrs. Arnette's sister-in-law, Angela Roy, who's caring for all seven children, said the money raised will also be used for legal fees associated with sorting out Mrs. Arnette's estate. She left no will, Roy said.
And though Mrs. Arnette's children have been through a lot, Roy said, she's surprised by the support she's received.
"It's just amazing to see how people are coming forward, you know," Roy said. "Even after all this horror and all we've been through."