State flag flown at the capital in honor of slain former page - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

State flag flown at the capital in honor of slain former page

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -

Eight years ago, Victoria Lee served as a page in the Iowa State Senate.  She made an impression on her fellow pages including State Representative Elect Megan Hess.

"It was a surreal moment because I saw the pictures of her on TV in her page uniform," recalled Hess of seeing the news report of Lee's death.

That picture was of happier times.  When Hess and Lee were both high schoolers serving their state.

"It was a very special time in all of our lives," Hess remembered.

From the state capitol to her hometown, Lee became a city council woman in Missouri Valley at just 19.

"I think it's important to remember the work that she put in to make Iowa a better place," Hess said.

On December 9th, the 25-year-old's story took a tragic turn.  Her body and that of her husband 30-year-old Alex Vargas were pulled from this charred trailer home.  They'd been shot, police say, by Lee's ex-boyfriend Matthew Hinrichsen.

"That could have been any one of us," stated Hess.

Hess says the tragedy helped the pages in her class reconnect.

"This is certainly something that really helped pull us together because we needed to honor one of our own," explained Hess.

On what would have been her 26th birthday Monday, they did.  The Iowa flag was flown above the state capitol in Des Moines, in honor of Vickie Vargas.

"We're a page family, and anyone who had that experience understands that you really become close with those who you sit on those back benches with day in and day out," Hess pointed out.

She may have had her whole life ahead of her, but Hess says Victoria Lee Vargas made the most of her short time on Earth.

"She had written it's not the year that you put into your life, it's the life that you put into your years.  Even though her life was cut short, she still put a lot of life into those years," Hess said of a post Vickie's mom made on Facebook of one of her daughter's favorite quotes.

Vickie and Alex were in the process of moving to Omaha and she was about to complete her political science degree when her life was tragically cut short.  A memorial service was held for the couple the day after Christmas.

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