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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---For the first time, we are hearing from the father of 17-year-old Tara Willenborg, the Clarksville teenager raped and murdered last weekend in her Cambridge Square Apartment.
This afternoon, her father sat down with WDRB's Tamara Evans to talk about his daughter, and the accused suspect. He referred to the accused suspect, 49-year-old Richard Hooten, only as "It", and not by name.
"He's not a human. He's not an animal. He's far below. Calling him by his name is difficult. Calling him by anything other than "it" feels nothing but right," says Todd Willenborg.
Todd Willenborg says he's angry that the accused murderer is talking to the media about what happened to his daughter. He says Hooten doesn't care about what his family is going through.
"This is not about him. This is about my beautiful daughter, Tara Rose Willenborg, who did nothing to deserve this," says Todd Willenborg.
Willenborg says he was very proud of his daughter for all that she had accomplished.
She was a former cross country athlete at Jeffersonville High School and recently received her GED. He tells WDRB she was living with her fiance.
"The following Sunday we took her out to her graduation dinner, me and her mother, and spent time with her and was so happy she was doing so good," says Todd Willenborg.
Todd Willenborg says Tara was his youngest child. He says he called her daily to check on her, and spoke with her less than 5 hours before she was killed.
Willenborg says he would like to focus on his daughter, and not the accused suspect.
"I loved Tara and we had a good relationship. I was her daddy. I was her protector," he says.
He says the community's support has helped his family through this tragedy.
"I'm beyond thankful. That love, that support is what's given me the strength, and the will of God the strength right now to speak without falling down and sobbing uncontrollably," says Todd Willenborg.
Tara would have turned 18 this upcoming Sunday.
Her dad says the family plans to do something special to remember her.
Tune in to the 10:00 newscast on WMYO to hear more from Todd Willenborg about his daughter, and the accused suspect.