MONROE, N.C. — The family of a Monroe, North Carolina woman who drowned in South Carolina is remembering their daughter's life in an interview with NBC Charlotte Tuesday.
"She always had such a loving heart towards people and helping people," her mother Brandi Tarlton said.
Her family is desperate to know what went wrong. One week ago, Krista Philemon's body was found after a two day search along Lake Wateree. Rescue crews said the accident is "puzzling." The family continues to ask: how did this happen?
Tarlton said her daughter grew up on the lake and knew how to swim. She said Krista had no known medical conditions. Krista had been preparing for an upcoming fitness competition.
The family said they are comforted knowing while Krista was alive, she left a huge impact on the people in her life.
More than 1000 people came to Krista's funeral. The family believes this is a sign of how many lives she touched.
Tarlton recalled a question Krista's grandfather asked after Krista's death.
“'Why does God take the strongest, most beautiful ones? You know, when you walk up to a flower garden, which ones do you pick?'”
In her 22 years, Krista made an unforgettable impression on her world.
"In her 5th grade class, she was voted most likely to be president,” Tarlton said.
Krista jumped off a boat in Lake Wateree last Sunday and never re-surfaced. Her family has a lot of unanswered questions but they are finding comfort in the way she lived her life.
"I know she's in heaven rejoicing and looking down on us and would want us to pick up, and move on, and carry her torch,” Tarlton explained.
Her mother said Krista excelled in school, sports, and art. Krista had started a non-profit, Painting With a Purpose. Her goal was to donate $500 a month to different charities.
She loved working with her dad in construction. Tarlton explained Krista wanted to give 7 of her 10 percent commission to those in need.
"She always had such a loving heart towards people, and helping people, and loving on people that needed it,” said her mom.
Krista's top priority was always her family, her mother explained. Krista was the middle child and would planned weekly “sister nights” with her two sisters.
"She will so forever be greatly missed and I’m grateful people have the memories that they have of her,” said Tarlton.
Tarlton and her two daughters plan to keep Painting With a Purpose operating as a way to keep Krista’s legacy alive.