Keller Citizen is reporting a double murder-suicide due to domestic violence. Its truly a sad statement as you read this they both - wife and daugther - were speaking of troubles at home.
Friday, Aug. 15, 2008
Mourners pack service for private family
By SARAH JUNEK
A photo of Mailen Pizarro-Vece, 14, was hung on her north Fort Worth home and signed by those grieving her death. It is part of a makeshift memorial to her and her mother, Eliana Vece, 36, victims of an apparent double murder-suicide last week.
Black ribbons draped across two empty chairs in the second row of Primera Iglesia Bautista of Keller, where a mother and daughter sat side by side during church services each week. Surrounded by a sea of slumped shoulders and bowed heads, it was a monument to the emptiness felt at a memorial service Sunday.
More than 150 people gathered at the Baptist church for the evening service for Eliana Vece, 36, and Mailen Pizarro-Vece, 14, whose violent deaths last week sent friends, neighbors and co-workers into a state of sorrow and shock.
"You never think anything like that would happen," neighbor Kirk Beckstrand said.
Fort Worth police found the two women’s bodies in the bedroom of their home in the 4600 block of Birchbend Lane the evening of Aug. 6. Each had been shot in the head, police said, by their husband and stepfather, James Vece, 44, before he turned the pistol on himself.
With no criminal record or history of domestic violence, his motive is unclear. The case is still under investigation, but detectives hope to uncover evidence pointing to the motive within the week, police Sgt. John D. Thornton said Tuesday.
Though no one knows for sure what happened, neighbors across the street told police they heard angry screaming coming from the house at about 1:30 a.m. Aug. 5, followed by a few loud pops they thought were firecrackers. Officers were called to the house after Eliana Vece, a teacher, missed two days of work without notifying her school.
The Rev. Roland Johnson, the church’s pastor, said Eliana often asked for prayers about issues with her husband at home, but she never offered details. Neighbors knew much less, and Eliana’s co-workers said she worked constantly and didn’t talk about herself much.
The husband and wife "used to take walks around the street together and kind of stopped doing it," said long-time neighbor David Jennings, who walked Mailen to the bus stop everyday since she was in elementary school. "I have a feeling he was very strict."
James’s only known family is a father in Killeen. Eliana’s parents and brother in Mendoza, Argentina, were notified, but no family was at the memorial.
James and Eliana were married in 2002, and James adopted Mailen last spring. They moved into their north Fort Worth home in 2003. Eliana and Mailen immigrated from Argentina in 2000.
Mailen’s boyfriend, Juan Sebastian Caycedo, said he knew her father well, and described him as over-protective but loving.
"He was always trying to solve problems, mechanical or whatever. And he was always trying to give you advice," Juan said.
James drove the young couple to a local water park this past summer. He was an involved father, Juan said, and "I never saw him drink."
Mailen had talked about her parents being tired of fighting, but "I never expected anything like this would happen," Juan said.
Mailen spent most of her time with her boyfriend and didn’t have many close friends. She was baptized last spring, a few months after Juan began bringing her to the church. Eliana began attending the church a short time later.
Mailen was a student at Hillwood Middle School who was scheduled to start classes at Central High School this month.
"She always said, 'I want to pray for my mom,’ " said Carmen Martinez, wife of the church’s youth pastor.
Her mother was a first-grade bilingual teacher at Brandenburg Elementary School in Irving and worked part time at Motorola during the summer. Eliana got a master’s degree in education last fall from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and was studying to become a principal.
She once planned to spend a week vacationing in Houston with Mailen, but they never went; "she had to work a lot to make a living, so [Mailen] didn’t really see her much," Juan said.
Much of the Brandenburg faculty attended the memorial service, taking turns praising their co-worker for her work ethic and dedication.
"She never stopped learning," said former assistant principal, Michael Crotty. "She used to tell her students, 'There’s no excuse. You can do this. You can learn.’ "
My prayers are with these victims of domestic abuse within the church.
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