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Family Speaks Out After Daughter Was Allegedly Shot, Killed By Estranged Husband

OGDEN, Utah — A grieving family is speaking out, sharing a special plea for victims of domestic violence, after their daughter was allegedly shot and killed by her estranged husband in Ogden.

“I am going to live with this for the rest of my life,” said Maryanne Martinez.

Maryanne Martinez is wearing purple in memory of her 40-year-old daughter Stephanie Chavez.

“My babies are going to grow up and they’re not going to know either parent for the rest of their lives,” said Martinez.

Stephanie’s stepdad Richard Lujan said that for the last 7 months of her 20-year marriage, she suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband.

“The really sad part is she was a wonderful wife and mother to him for 20 years,” Martinez said.

“The only time a man should put his hands on a woman is in a loving manner,” said Lujan.

Just over a month ago, Stephanie’s parents said she was finally able to get away from the abuse.

“She moved herself out of the situation,” Martinez said. “I moved her over here so she could be safe with her boys and that still wasn’t enough because he kept coming around and harassing her, and harassing her.”

But just after midnight on Wednesday, July 1, Ogden Police found Stephanie’s body with gun shot wounds inside the home of her estranged husband located on the 3000 Block of Adams Avenue.

Officers said 40-year-old Sergio Chavez also shot and injured Stephanie’s friend as she ran from the home.

“She heard the gunshots, and she saw Stephanie falling backwards she said, and that is when she turned to run for her life,” said Lujan.

Hours before the shooting, Stephanie’s parents said Chavez went to her new apartment and physically attacked her in front of the couple’s two children.

“To do that in front of her children, that’s just not right,” Martinez said. “If you have any kind of love for a person like that, you don’t do that to them.”

Stephanie’s parents said Chavez made threats against her life on multiple occasions.

“But she never thought he was serious,” said Martinez.

Martinez and Lujan are now speaking out to give a voice to their daughter.

“We need my daughter’s — and all the other women [and men] that are suffering from domestic violence — we need their names out there, not the guys [or women] that are doing this to [them],” Martinez said.

And to empower others in Stephanie’s shoes to seek help before it’s too late.

“A lot of women out there are hiding this. Don’t hide it anymore more because you are the ones that are letting them get away with it,” Martinez said.

Stephanie leaves behind 2 boys, ages 2- and 4-years-old.

Chavez is facing multiple charges including murder, 4 counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and 2 counts of forgery.

Police said Chavez is in the country illegally. Detectives found false identification and social security cards with a fake alias name of “Victor Cisneros” and date of birth.

A GoFundMe account has been established to cover funeral expenses for Stephanie.

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