By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – More than a week after her death, a suspect is charged with First Degree murder, but friends and family of Cristina Weir say they are still trying to cope and handle with the loss.
Weir had a personality that friends could only sum up as “The Cristina Effect,” as her boss described it, “She had an impact on everybody she ever touched, but was never the center stage.”
On Monday morning, July 31, when Cristina didn’t show up to work and wasn’t answering her phones, everyone knew something was wrong. The company she works at, Velocity Global, is known for having a very tight relationship between employees.
“It was the worst week of my life, the worst week of our lives,” said Ben Wright, the CEO of Velocity Global. “It’s that family environment that’s going to help us get through this. But it’s the close knit environment that hurts that much more.”
Weir was found face down in the hallway of her Five Points apartment. Weir’s belongings were still in her apartment except for her car key.
A neighbor said there had been an issue recently with transients breaking into the small apartment complex’s laundry room. A neighbor would eventually identify the suspect as the same man seen in the laundry room the night Weir died.
Court documents say 24-year-old Esstefan Hamlin was seen driving around Denver and Aurora in Weir’s car between July 31 and August 1. Detectives began following Hamlin and eventually arrested him. Hamlin has not spoken with investigators, but did have blood on his shorts which is being tested to see if it matches Weir’s DNA. He’s charged with 2 counts of first degree murder, criminal trespassing, burglary and aggravated motor vehicle theft.
Hamlin was arrested on August 1. He was formally charged Thursday morning with murder, burglary, trespassing, and auto theft. All are felony charges.
According to online criminal records, Hamlin has multiple cases for motor vehicle theft in the past six years. He is also accused of forcing entry into an apartment in the same complex in 2016 to steal a car.
An autopsy on Weir determined she was stabbed to death.
Investigators have told Weir’s friends and family the attack appears to be random.
“The amazing thing about good people, and the amazing thing about impactful people is their impact continues on. It’s up to us now to try and live as she did,” Wright said.
Velocity Global made the decision to fly any employee who accepted the offer to Virginia for Weir’s funeral on Monday. 35 people decided to make the trip from Denver.
”We were so impacted by her every day that there was no choice but to get on a plane and go and be there,” Wright said. “It was important to have people there so we can process it and heal together.”
Weir’s friends and family are raising money so they can establish a scholarship fund. You can donate here.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.