By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD, Ind. —
Cynthia Achenbach seemed to help underdogs, even in her youth.
Her father, Rick Corwin, laughed as he told of Cindy sticking up for a friend in elementary school — by hitting a boy who kept teasing the girl about her appearance.
“She always thought she could change people and make them better,” said Cindy’s mother, Nancy Corwin.
Her family said that was the approach Cindy, 24, was taking with estranged husband Michael Achenbach, 39. He is serving a 60-year sentence after pleading guilty to shooting and killing Cindy on April 23, 2008. The shooting occurred outside his Anderson home while their two daughters — Aveza, weeks from her fifth birthday, and Lilian, seven-months-old — were just feet away.
There was a history of abuse. Weeks before the shooting, Michael Achenbach had been arrested for domestic battery. Nancy recalled that if Cindy became attached to something, Michael would try to destroy it. He tore Cindy’s recently-planted flowers out of the ground. He kicked her pets across the room, Nancy said.
The abuse went counter to Cindy’s attitude of being carefree and outgoing, a social butterfly, Nancy said.
And Cindy loved her role as a mom.
Cindy experienced a few bumps growing up, but after she had her children, Rick said, his daughter matured quickly, becoming a responsible woman and mother. The family always joked that Cindy’s daughters would be the best-looking kids in preschool as she loved fixing their hair and dressing them in pretty outfits.
She was scheduled to sign up for beauty school on the day after she was killed.
“We just miss her so much,” Rick said. “She was way too young. I know 200 other families go through this every day. It doesn’t stop. It’s just so tragic.”
Nancy cried as she spoke of her own morning ritual — sitting at the kitchen table across from a picture of Cindy as she talked to her.
Younger sister Jennifer Corwin smiled as she talked about the relationship she shared with Cindy.
“We would talk on the phone for hours, laughing most of that really,” Jennifer said. “I still have her number in my phone. I can’t delete it.”
Jennifer still talks to her sister in her dreams.
“Everyone loved her,” she said. “I just want to make sure she is remembered.”