ARUNDEL — The arrest of Juan A. Contreras brought relief to Grace Burton's family.
"I didn't believe it. I asked her three times," said Burton's daughter, Julie Shaw. She got a call at 6:45 p.m. Thursday from Maine State Police Detective Abbe Chabot telling her that the man who police believe killed her mother was in custody.
"There were tears of joy, then I started calling all my brothers," Shaw said. "A big, heavy weight has been lifted off all our hearts."
Shaw met with state police Wednesday but they couldn't tell her anything.
"After three months, three weeks and three days, the grief wore off and anger set in," she said of the past month.
The family did everything it could to help, including handing out fliers at Farmington Fair and raising funds for a reward for information leading to an arrest.
Shaw had hoped the homicide would be solved before what would have been her mother's 82nd birthday on Dec. 9.
"There's been a network of people praying for this to be solved," Shaw said.
She knew of no connection between her mother and Contreras. She had never heard of him before this.
"It boggles my mind," she said. "We come to Earth with a plan made for us. I can't imagine someone's life is supposed to end that way."
Although she wouldn't want any family to have to go through this, it has made her own family stronger and closer.
"Probably, we are one powerful force to be reckoned with," Shaw said. "Mother is looking down on us and grinning from ear to ear the way we've conducted ourselves." If this is what it took to bring the family closer ... my mother would have laid down her life for any one of us, but she laid down her life for every single one of us."