Victoria Vargas received a stuffed brown bunny from her parents, shortly before she married her husband, Alex.
A Western Iowa family had the tough task of saying goodbye Saturday, to a young couple brutally killed last month.
On Dec. 8, authorities say 25-year-old Victoria Lee Vargas and her husband, 34-year-old Alex Vargas were shot to death inside a mobile home in Ewing, Neb. That home was then set on fire.
Authorities say Victoria's ex-boyfriend, 33-year-old Matthew Hinrichsen was behind all of it. He'll be back in court later this month to face murder charges.
The funeral for Victoria and Alex marked the end of a difficult month for their families. It's been a time of questioning and a time for reflection, as those memories of their lives fill the church in Missouri Valley.
Family and friends gather for a chance to say good bye to Victoria Lee Vargas and her husband, Alex. While most of the couple's belongings were lost inside that charred mobile home, a few memories Victoria had kept locked away in a vault survived. They only begin to tell her story.
"She was the best sister that you could ever have," said Cole Temple, a family friend.
"She was just the kind of person who loved life, and loved to apply herself," said Susan Lee, Victoria's mother.
"I never treated her as a little kid, but yet I always treated her like a little kid," said Don Lee, Victoria's father.
Don recalled a time, when he and Victoria went through their neighborhood, collecting pop cans together, so they could get her a special happy meal toy.
"It was that platypus that she treasured and the hard work that went with it," said Don.
Just before she got married, her mother gave her a stuffed brown bunny, as a reminder of a toy she'd loved when she was a child.
"She just remembered that bunny, like, 'I remember you giving me that bunny, Mom," said Susan.
Her parents say Victoria had a maturity beyond her years. That helped her connect with state lawmakers when she worked as a page in the Iowa state legislature. They say she wasn't afraid to share an opinion either.
"She liked pointing out the reason she didn't agree with them," said Susan.
"She had an opinion, but then she would listen to both sides and try to make the best decision," said Donald.
Her family remembers her as someone who was incredibly upbeat and loving.
"Sometimes, we wish we could rewind the past and just see her one last time," said Temple.
Those memories and stories will continue to live on, through all the people Victoria touched in her community.
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