By Dillon Thomas
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – One week after her murder, friends and family of Ally Raber gathered to say goodbye.
Raber was found dead in an Aurora motel, just one day after she checked in to the facility with her boyfriend Arturo Garcia.
Police told CBS4 they believed Garcia strangled Raber before running from the scene. Police were not able to locate him.
“(The past week) has just been a wave of emotions,” said Dioni Chapman, one of Raber’s closest friends. “Up, down. Left, right. Happy, sad. Angry, upset. I go through it all. (I) just feel empty sometimes.”
“I’ve lost a lot of people,” said Brianne Lechuga, a close friend. “But, this feeling was completely different. It was just out of this world.”
Friends described Raber as kind-spirited and encouraging.
Raber, who enlisted in the Navy, even encouraged Chapman to join her.
“She was just a fun, loving person that always cared about others. I will miss that,” Chapman said. “She has been there through a lot, for me. She was a rock that I could always fall back on to. And, now she is not here.”
Friends were quick to back police investigations, assuming Garcia was to blame.
“He does deserve everything that is going to come for him. And, I do believe he will be found,” Lechuga said. “Her family deserves that peace, and that reassurance. I know it won’t fix everything. But, I feel like it would sure help.”
While police search, Raber’s friends took a night to mourn. Her friends said Saturday was a brief moment away from reality, to remember Raber for who she was, not how she left.
“Remember her for the smile, and always trying to make everyone else happy,” Chapman said.
The family has set up a fundraising page. Proceeds are expected to be donated to a local women’s shelter.
Visit a special page on youcaring.com support Celebrating Ally Raber.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.