Friends and family gathered in Hartford tonight to mourn the loss of a woman who police say died at the hands of her ex-boyfriend earlier this month.
Luz Nieves, 45, was stabbed to death in her Hanmer Street apartment on Nov. 1 and her ex-boyfriend, 40-year-old Alex Baez-Franqui, has been charged with murder. Police said Baez-Franqui smoked crack cocaine and drank alcohol before brutally attacking Nieves, who accused him of being unfaithful.
Family members are reeling. They lit candles Monday evening at 251 Saybrooke Street in Hartford and made no effort to hide their tears.
“I think people need to realize domestic violence is real,” said Nieves’ brother, Juan Ortega, Jr. “We know it’s real, we know there are the signs, but we need to realize that everybody has a role to play in this, and it’s neighbors, family members, coworkers.”
Nieves leaves behind a daughter and 3-year-old grandchild.
“For me to stand here, it feels like a dream. The amount of pain and suffering I’m going through right now, there are no words,” said her daughter, Ashley Trochez. “I never want anybody – any woman, any child, any grandchild – to feel the amount of pain I feel today.”
In an effort to make peace with the memories, family members opted to hold the vigil on Saybrooke Street rather than at the scene of the crime.
“What she went through in that apartment, how is it that no one heard anything, no one knocked on the door, no one called the police?” Ortega wondered. “I don’t understand that. She may have had a chance.”
Family members remembered Nieves as kind and funny. They implored domestic violence victims to speak up and said no one else should have to go through the trauma they’re enduring.
“Take action. Say something,” said Nieves’ mother, Juanita Ortega. “Don’t let those monsters get away with it. Please say something. Don’t go through that by yourself.”
Baez-Franqui was arraigned in court last week. He's being held on $2 million bond and is due back before a judge Nov. 21.