Friends, co-workers remember hard-working, new mother

Photo Credit- Adrian Perez
Photo Credit- Adrian Perez

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been a difficult few days for 27-year-old Laura Abarca Nogueda’s family and friends as they remember her bubbly personality and kind heart.

Nogueda employed by Chipotle in Wichita since she was 16 and worked as a manager for the restaurant up until her final days.

Her co-workers say she made a big impact on them along the way.

“I’m sad that I will never get to see her again,” stated Adrian Perez, a co-worker.

The young woman was tragically murdered last Thursday afternoon. Friends say Nogueda was known for her bright smile, and strong work ethic.

“She worked two jobs and she was just so happy. I have never seen anybody work that hard be so happy like she was,” explained Haley Meeks, a co-worker at Chipotle.

“You couldn’t not like her. She was just so sweet and she always had a smile on her face,” said Bella Villegas, also a co-worker to Nogueda.

Nogueda’s friends and colleagues are still trying to cope with the reality of her violent death and, knowing they will never see her again.

“We’re really going to miss her,” replied Meeks.

They also tell KSN, Nogueda was excited about becoming a mother.

“She was so excited to have her first baby and she was talking about how she was going to dress her and all of these things when she grows up,” stated Villegas.

But, Nogueda will never get that chance to watch her daughter, Sophia grow up.

“I wrote that her smile would be missed, because that was the biggest thing I remember,” explained Villegas.

To keep her memory alive, Nogueda’s co-workers at Chipotle came together this weekend for a prayer vigil and created this collage filled with their favorite pictures of her, and wrote their final good-byes.

“We all signed it so we could give it to the family and let them know how much we loved her,” said Perez.

Even in the short time they knew her, Nogueda’s coworkers say she made a lasting impact on them.

“She has impacted my life in more ways than I can count,” said Villegas.

Funeral arrangements for Nogueda is still pending. But, her family did tell KSN they’ve received an overwhelming amount of support from the community with almost $13,000 raised for funeral costs.