POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A devastated friend opened up about a missing South Florida woman who authorities believe was murdered by her husband.

Speaking with 7News on Monday, Dianna Painton described her best friend, Pompano Beach resident Irene Lanning Xeniti, as kind, giving and full of life.

“She would just light up a room. She was just like a free spirit, always happy, loving, one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met in my entire life,” she said.

Painton said she met Lanning Xeniti at the gym, and the two soon became like family.

“She became like an active grandma toward my daughter and kind of took me on as an active daughter, if you will, and friend,” she said.

When she hadn’t heard from her friend in a while, Painton said, she began to think something was wrong.

“I realized it was serious when detectives came and started questioning the last people that she was around,” she said.

The 53-year-old had been missing for weeks. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives said there was a break in the case last week.

On Saturday, the victim’s husband, 54-year-old Ian Lanning, was placed under arrest. He faces a first-degree murder charge.

“To find out it was her husband, that was supposed to keep her safe and somebody she loved, is horrible,” said Painton. “There’s no words for it, and the whole thing to me seems senseless.”

Two weeks before Lanning Xeniti was reported missing, detectives said, they stopped by the couple’s home, where her husband told them his wife had left the home after the two got into an argument.

On Wednesday, detectives got a search warrant for their home. Inside, they said, they found evidence that suggests the victim had been killed inside and that her body was taken to an unknown location.

Now those closest to Lanning Xeniti are asking the public to help in the investigation.

“Somebody has to know something,” said Painton. “Any detail or anything that you may have seen or heard, and you think it’s something, it could be that little piece that brings us to her, to let her family get the closure and lay her to rest that they deserve,” said Painton.

In a Facebook post, the victim’s daughter wrote, “Momma I love you.” She also wrote, “My heart aches in such an unexplainable way.”

Painton said loved ones are planning a candlelight memorial on the beach next week, so they can remember a woman who is missed by many.

“If the community wants to be a part of this, whether they knew her or not, we need the community right now more than ever,” she said.

Painton said the memorial is scheduled for June 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Pavillion #1, located at Atlantic Boulevard and A1A.

BSO officials are set to hold a news conference about this case on Tuesday.

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