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Volunteer Killed Delivering Food

February 27, 1998

PHOENIX (AP) _ A church volunteer who went to deliver a basket of food to a hungry family was tied up, raped, beaten and killed by the very couple she came to help, police said.

Elizabeth Calabrese’s body was found hidden beneath cardboard boxes in the back yard of the home of John E. Sansing, 31, and Kara K. Sansing, 28.

Police say the 41-year-old mother of two went to the home Tuesday after the Living Springs Assembly of God in Glendale got a call for emergency food from a man who identified himself as John Sansing.

Police said some of the couple’s four children, who range in age from 9 to 12, were home at the time of the attack and saw their mother help restrain Calabrese as their father raped her. Sansing fled to his sister’s house afterward and told her he was high on crack during the attack, according to police.

Both Sansings were arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. John Sansing, a warehouse stocker with a long criminal history, is also charged with sexual assault and aggravated assault.

The Associated Press was unable to immediately reach Emmet Ronan, the Sansings’ attorney, late Friday afternoon. He was out of his office and not expected to return.

Calabrese’s husband, Rosario Calabrese, said he does not hate the people charged with the killing.

``I believe they are on drugs and do not know what they are doing,″ he said. ``I know they have to pay the price before God, but I don’t know what to feel.″

Calabrese’s family and friends said taking food to those in need was the sort of thing the retired 20-year Air Force veteran loved to do.

Kathy Specker, a fellow church volunteer, said volunteers are usually required to deliver food in pairs, but that Calabrese decided to make the trip alone because the family had children and she didn’t want them to go hungry.

``The only reason she did it was for the kids,″ Specker said.

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