CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. (WBFF) - News of Danielle Gunson's murder has rocked the small town of Chesapeake Beach, the high schooler's body was found more than an hour away on the edge of Baltimore City near Anne Arundel County.
Her mother, Valerie Gunson, of Owings, Calvert County, delicately unfolds two pages written in purple and orange marker.
She read it out loud: "'Dear Mom, I just want you to know how much I love you. I don't know where I would be without you."
It's the last note from her daughter, Danielle.
Danielle was reported missing Thursday, Sept. 27.
"In my mind, I was picturing that she's OK. She's somewhere and I just need to find her," she said, starting to cry. "Then I got the call to go to the detective's office."
Police found the body of a woman Thursday morning in the area of the 100 block of Riverside Road in Baltimore City, which borders Anne Arundel County.
On Friday morning, detectives called Valerie Gunson with the identification of the body.
"I waited for the phone call," she said, unable to hold back the tears. "And then I got a phone call that it was her body and I collapsed. I just collapsed, and from there on out, it's been really dark."
According to Valerie, Danielle was found shot in the back. Danielle was a senior at South River High School in Edgewater. Now Gunson's last image of her daughter is at the funeral home where her body rests.
"You can't understand what that does to our family," Gunson said. "We can't sit down and have a meal. We can't do something as simple as go to the store and pick out shoes. My daughter and I had to pick out her clothes to wear in the casket. There's nothing to explain having to pick out your child's clothes to wear in a casket."
Gunson said: "I want justice. I want to see his face. I want to ask him why he felt he could take something away from me that I love more than myself."
She tearfully went on: "All of our plans that we had to do in life, she was so excited about all of them. I can't imagine not ever having that again. I can't imagine not seeing her."
Police say Danielle's murder was a targeted attack. Her killer hasn't been caught.
"I just keep thinking of what she might've actually went through and that's the part that I can't get out of my head," Gunson said. "She was probably scared, and that kills me the most; she was scared."
Gunson chooses to hold tight to the good memories, to those final words from her daughter, as she clutches the letter tight and reads: "We should all be together and close with each other. It's late and I'm going to sleep. I love you, Danielle."
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist in funeral expenses.