A A South Los Angeles family left mourning and demanding legal answers after a mother was stabbed to death by her boyfriend in front of her children..
Nicole Santillanes, 38, was a mother of four and her family allege she was beaten and stabbed to death by her boyfriend. over the weekend at an apartment complex on Broadway Avenue, according to ABC7.
According to her family, she was killed in front of three of her four children, aged 8, 7 and 13. The boyfriend, identified by police as Richard Lahr, escaped and is still on the run.
“He was the life of the party. They all loved her. She was sociable. She was very independent,” said Ashley Gyurich, sister of Santillanes.
Gjurich told ABC7 that he learned about his sister’s death from Santillanes’ 13-year-old daughter.
“He called my daughter. I screamed hysterically, ”Gyurich recalled. “My daughter thought I was joking and said, ‘Mom, it’s just Stevie,’ and I said, ‘No, there’s something wrong with him.’ What’s happening?’ I thought, “Stevie, what’s going on?” and she said, “He killed her.” He killed my mother.”
Now Gyurich looks after seven children, including his own, and now his sister.
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Eyewitness News that Lara is the prime suspect in the case. Officials are still trying to find him.
Friends and family said that Santillanes and Lara were in a toxic relationship for years that was accompanied by domestic violence.
Lara is the father of Santillan’s two children.
Santillanes’ eldest son said his focus now is on making his mother proud of him.
“I’m going to go my own way,” said Dylan Cristales. “She wanted to be a nurse, a pharmacist, I just go to school for something. I am following in his footsteps.”
The family has since created a page GoFundMe to raise money for Santillanes’ mental health and the funeral of his children.
They plan to hold a picket on Tuesday evening.