By ANDREW SCHOTZ
11:20 PM EDT, April 7, 2010
WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Kristy Hoke was happy about her new waitressing job at Golden Corral. She liked serving and helping other people, said her mother, Beverly Durboraw.
"She would give you her last dollar," Durboraw said.
Above all, Hoke was a mother of three.
Durboraw said it was unheard of for her daughter to miss a big family holiday. So, when Hoke didn't return phone messages and couldn't be found on Easter, Durboraw knew something was wrong.
Hoke's body was found Tuesday in a wooded area in Waynesboro, Pa. Pennsylvania State Police have charged Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., 47, of State Line, Pa., with stabbing her to death.
Durboraw said Hoke considered Miles a friend, whom she probably met while working at a liquor store near her home.
Miles sometimes stopped at the home that Durboraw, Hoke and her children shared at Northaven Mobile Home Park north of Hagerstown, Durboraw said.
She said his most recent visit was about a week and a half ago, when he left a message, offering to pay Hoke for some cleaning work.
Durboraw remembers seeing Hoke at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when Durboraw and Hoke's children left for the Potomac River at McCoy's Ferry. A neighbor said Hoke left her home at about noon.
Durboraw didn't know her daughter's plans for the day.
Hoke, who died at age 29, was a middle child -- between older brother Gary and younger brother Nathan Jr.
The Durboraws lived for a time along Broadfording Road. While growing up, Hoke was close to her aunt and considered her to be a second mother, said Sherry Everetts, a cousin.
Durboraw said her daughter loved to roller skate. She skated competitively and won prizes, a hobby she passed to her children, Durboraw said.
About five years ago, Kristy married Ronald Lee Hoke Jr. Together, they had a daughter, who turned 3 in January.
On Dec. 6, 2007, Kristy Hoke obtained a temporary protective order against Ronald Hoke, alleging that he bleached the family's clothing, slashed her car tires, cut furniture and hit her in the face, according to a petition she filed in Washington County District Court.
A request for a final protective order was dropped Dec. 10, 2007, when neither party showed up, court records show.
That night, Ronald Hoke set a pair of pants on fire near a home where Kristy Hoke was staying, apparently upset she wouldn't come home, according to an application for a statement of charges in Washington County Circuit Court.
Ronald Hoke later pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with nine years suspended.
Last year, while at Roxbury Correctional Institution, Ronald Hoke wrote a letter asking Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell for a lesser sentence.
He wrote that he had matured and changed his ways and hoped to be with his family again.
"Since my incarceration," Ronald Hoke wrote, "they have all been struggling and continue to struggle. My wife hasn't been able to find a job, has lost our home and car due to the fact that I was the sole provider .... She is under a lot of stress and pressure due to my decisions. She is trying to care and provide for our children by herself."
McDowell denied the request because it was past a 90-day filing deadline.
Kristy Hoke was nearing the end of a one-year probation period imposed last May after she pleaded guilty in District Court to a theft charge.
Durboraw said Wednesday that her daughter was excited about the waitressing job she started a few weeks ago.
She also was eager to see her husband come home, wiser, and re-establish their family life. "She loved her husband, yes, she did," Durboraw said.
Now, Durboraw is making memorial plans for Hoke, who will be cremated.
"I'll keep her ashes," she said, "because that's the only thing we have left."
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