Julie Martinez, 20, of Buhl is remembered as a caring and joyful mother, daughter and friend.
NAMPA, Idaho – The family of Julie Martinez remembers her as a caring and joyful mother, daughter and friend.
“Ever since she was a little girl despite everything she’s been through, she’d be giving big hugs and love, just being her goofy self and making people smile,” said Yesenya Aguirre, Julie’s cousin.
Nampa Police identified the 20-year-old Buhl woman as the victim of a shooting that happened early Sunday morning. Police said she was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she did not survive her injuries.
Aguirre said her death was a shock to many and it is very emotional, especially because she leaves behind a four-year-old daughter, Arianna.
“She loved Arianna so much,” Aguirre said. “They were always together. She was a great mother.”
Her impact does not end with her daughter. Aguirre said she played the role of “mother” long before she had Arianna.
“Her mother left them at a young age, she was only ten. She had to help her dad raise her little sister and her brother,” Aguirre said. “She had been such a great caretaker.”
Now her family, who lives in the Magic Valley, is trying to cope without their caretaker.
“I don’t think there will ever be really closure,” Aguirre said.
Police said Martinez was shot by 23-year-old Junior Gamboa, alias Alfonso Emmanuel Leon. Gamboa was arrested and is in the Canyon County jail, and is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and a felony probation violation.
The family of Martinez said Gamboa was her boyfriend and alleges she was a victim of domestic violence.
“I didn’t know much about the relationship but what I’ve heard it’s sickening,” Aguirre said. “She did love him and she just wanted that love in return. I can’t comment on it because I wasn’t there for the relationship, but what I’ve heard is not nice.”
Aguirre said she and many of Martinez’s friends feel heartbroken because they tried to get her to leave her relationship. She said they wish they could have done more to help.
“Everybody remembers her as a happy person and she just had such a strong mask that you never knew what was behind it,” Aguirre said.
Beatrice Black, CEO of WCA victim service center, said people in domestic violence situations may feel scared to reach out. She encourages friends and family to ask questions, especially if they suspect something is going on.
“You’re opening the door, the other person may not step through that door, but you’ve at least opened the door and said you’re willing and ready and able to listen,” Black said. “Either that person may take advantage of it right then or it may come back to them and they may decide, ‘Okay, it’s time I need to do something different.'”
Black said there are also signs to be aware of that someone could be going through a domestic violence situation, if they withdraw from family and friend activities or their significant other is making them act or dress a certain way. Black said it may be a small, subtle way someone may be controlled.
“Just trust your gut and ask that individual, ‘Is there something going on? Do you need somebody? I could be here for you if you want to talk about it,'” Black said.
By sharing Martinez’s story Aguirre hopes to reach people in similar situations and encourage them to seek help, especially before it’s too late.
“If you feel like you’re alone, you’re not alone,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre created a GoFundMe to help pay for Martinez’s funeral expenses. She said all of the proceeds will go to Martinez’s daughter and father.
Nampa Police told KTVB Wednesday that detectives are following up on leads, tips, and information they have received.
If you are or believe you are in a domestic abuse situation, WCA has a 24/7 hotline that can be reached at 208-343-7025. They also have a 24/7 sexual assault hotline, 208-345-7273 (RAPE).
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