Slain Bride Excited About Pregnancy, Friend Says

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Police say a pregnant woman died Tuesday afternoon after being stabbed in the chest. Officers confirm Celestia Duffin, 32, and her baby, Keagan Herring, died at a Fort Smith hospital. Duffin’s husband, James Herring, 32, faces a first degree murder charge.

“She’s not just someone or something and neither was that baby,” said Kari Coffman, a friend, “She is Celestia and she will always be my sister and always be my friend.”

Fort Smith police say Duffin was about six and half months pregnant. Doctors delivered the baby at the hospital. Officers confirm both did not make it. “She was very very excited to find out what the baby was and to get ready to have that baby,” said Coffman.

Coffman saw Duffin last week. They have been friends for more than a decade. “She was fun to be around. She always made me laugh,” said Coffman.

Officers arrested James Herring Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say he allegedly stabbed Duffin in the chest while she was behind the wheel. Investigators say the pregnant mother arrived at the Fort Smith Police Department and collapsed in the lobby after crashing their car.

Officers say the couple had only been married a week. Police say the husband told them he was not happy with their relationship. “I don’t understand why he thought because the marriage was bad he had to do that. That’s ridiculous,” said Coffman.

Investigators say Duffin leaves behind a 6-year-old son. “Her son and my daughter played all the time,” said Coffman, “That boy was the light of her life.”

Police say the bodies of mom and baby will both be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for autopsies.

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