by Max Brantley
-- Brian Chilson photos
Following a release of pink balloons by friends and co-workers from KATV at 8 a.m. this morning, the house in which KATV anchor Anne Pressly was fatally attacked in October was demolished and cleared from the lot at 4910 Club Road. Any items of value inside had previously been removed. A new house will be built there.
The cottage, which Pressly rented from Dick and Debra Flowers, was purchased in early July by Charlotte and Michael Whitt, who are home builders. The Whitts have built and lived in some 13 homes over the last 23 years while reselling them, but she said she expects the new 2,500-square foot brick-and-siding bungalow to be their home for years to come. The Flowers paid $124,000 for the 1,200-square-foot house in 1999. Revenue stamps on the warranty deed transferring the property to the Whitts indicate it sold for $245,000.
The Flowers family had put the home on the market shortly after Pressly’s death. Whitt said the timing was not right for a purchase by her family then. But the Whitts recently sold their current home to the new UAMS chancellor and found themselves in the market for a home. They’ll rent a home during construction after the new chancellor arrives in September.
Whitt said she’d met before buying the property with Pressly’s parents, Guy and Patti Cannady. “I wanted to make sure before we bought the property that they didn’t have any reservations whatsoever. That would have been a deal breaker. They were delighted with what we are going to do and have been very supportive. All the neighbors have been absolutely wonderful about what we’re doing. We haven’t had a negative response from anyone.”
Properties that have been the scenes of crimes can sometimes be problematic, at least in public perception. Whitt said, however, that Pressly’s parents told her “that when Michael and I move into our little cottage, we won’t have to worry because their little angel would be looking after us.”
There was a brief remembrance for Pressly at the house this morning. A prayer was said and the ballons were released. Then came a crack of thunder from an approaching storm. Whitt said a friend remarked, “That’s Anne saying ‘I love you. And I mean it.’”