WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Friends remember Toni Anderson for her positivity, love for nature and passion for music.
Anderson was the Wichita native who went missing in Kansas City in January shortly after a traffic stop. Her body and her car were found months later in the Missouri River and her death was ruled accidental, but many remain skeptical of the details surrounding her disappearance.
In order to raise money for a small memorial and to plant a tree near where she passed, friends threw a “Toni Anderson memorial show” at Old Town’s Rock Island Live. The concert featured some of Anderson’s favorite bands.
“One thing she always loved was a packed show. She never had a show dedicated to her, she always talked about wanting a birthday show or something and even though she isn’t around to see it, I know that if there is an afterlife, she’s happy to see it,” friend Michael Burks said.
Burks was one of Anderson’s friends who she frequented concerts with. Anderson had a known love for electronic dance music, as well as pop and punk-rock. Another friend, Travis Boaz, remembers travelling with Anderson to concerts. Boaz felt Wichita was an ideal setting for her memorial show since Anderson was from here, graduating from Wichita East.
“She was always so positive and wanted to bring in community and she was so nice to anyone she came across. She was very involved in the music scene here in Wichita,” Boaz said.
A $5 cover charge gave concert-goers the chance to see four bands and remember Anderson and grow her tree memorial fund. The proposed memorial near the Missouri River will give her many friends a place to mourn her.
“It’s something to be able to give us that isn’t as depressing as a graveyard and she loved nature so the idea of planting a tree was just completely idealistic and superb. Because, she always considered herself growing like a tree. So, to see an actual tree growing in her memory is really beautiful,” Burks said.
Friends estimate upwards of 200 people attended Anderson’s memorial show. Extra money raised past the goal of the tree fund will benefit Team Watters, the non-profit sonar search and rescue group who recovered Anderson and her car from the Missouri River .
Though the concert was upbeat Sunday evening, a somber feeling remains in Anderson’s friends hearts. Burks said he takes all new developments in her case, including the accidental death ruling, with a grain of salt.
“I really want people to try their best to figure out what happened to her. Even if that is…going out and protesting in front of the Kansas City courthouse or whatever. I want to bring as much attention to the fact that this could very possibly be a situation completely different than we all know,” Burks said.
The GoFundMe account for Anderson’s tree is separate from a previously set up account by her family to fundraise toward their search efforts.
Tree memorial link: https://www.gofundme.com/toni-anderson-memorial-benchtree