ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — The woman killed in front of Travis County deputies by her accused kidnapper in Del Valle Wednesday has been identified.
In a GoFundMe page, family members say 26-year-old Ibeth Aurora Lopez will be missed “more than words can express.” Lopez’s sister-in-laws tells KXAN the suspect is the victim’s ex-boyfriend.
Lopez and the suspect broke up two years ago, the family says, but they say he continued to harass her. Lopez has an 8-year-old daughter, who is not related to the suspect, the victim’s sister-in-law says. Family describe Lopez as a hardworking single mom from Elgin who was working two jobs this past holiday season.
In the days immediately following her death, former coworkers and friends of the victim are coming together to honor and remember her at the preschool she worked at for a couple of years in Manor.
“She was so bubbly, always having fun, enjoying time with the kids, you know, always trying to teach them something,” said Cindy Calderon, a friend and former coworker. “From singing ABCs to numbers and doing the hokey pokey and dancing herself all around.”
The preschool employees tell KXAN Lopez was more than a colleague. They were close — they were a “work family.”
“She’s definitely going to be missed here. She was the one who was kind of like the glue to the missing puzzle piece,” said Anisa Pena, another friend and former coworker.
“Her loss is a great loss to the community. Anybody in general that had her in her life you know, she was such a blessing to anybody and everybody that came her way,” added Calderon.
That’s why the friends celebrated Lopez with “Star Wars Friday” at the preschool. Students and staff members were encouraged to wear Star Wars gear because Lopez loved it.
The preschool also held a bake sale Friday and accepted donations that will go toward Lopez’s family.
“We’re willing to do anything we can to get her story out and know about her and how much of an impact she had on us,” said Pena. “She made a big impact on us and a lot of her students, as well.”
Parents tell KXAN News she was always positive and good with her kids in the classroom. “She had my son when he first started coming to the day care. She was an outgoing person,” said Victor Hudson, a parent. “She was great with the kids. She actually cut my son’s hair for the first time. So you know, it hit home.”
The community says they are doing everything they can to support Lopez’s young daughter.
“I just feel so sorry for her daughter. She went too early and for no reason, you know, no reason. It’s sad,” said Hudson. “We just pray for justice. That’s all we can do.”
Meanwhile, the friends say they’re still struggling to understand why this had to happen.
“I just wish somebody would have just listened. I think there were several cries for help and this all could have been prevented, definitely, I feel,” said Pena.
At around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect entered SportClips Haircuts in Bastrop and demanded Lopez, who worked there, come with him. When she resisted, the suspect pulled out a gun and the victim went with him.
They drove westbound on State Highway 71 until they ran into a traffic jam caused by protesting Del Valle High School students. Exiting onto a field near Burch Drive, the suspect and victim were walking when they were approached by two Travis County deputies around 2:30 p.m.
The suspect, who has not been identified at this time, shot and killed Lopez before turning the gun on himself. Officials said Wednesday he was in critical, life-threatening condition. Friday, the sheriff’s office said the suspect is alive, but did not provide an update on his condition.
No deputies were injured in the incident and, while a deputy did open fire on the suspect, it’s unclear if the deputy’s shots actually hit the suspect.
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