Wichita murder victim’s family, friends prepare to say final goodbye

Laura Abarca-Nogueda

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Family and friends of a Wichita murder victim prepared to say their final goodbyes on Tuesday.

Laura Abarca-Nogueda’s viewing was held Tuesday afternoon. She will be laid to rest on Wednesday morning.

Her friends said they will always remember her for her vivacious personality and love for life.

“To me Laura is a wonderful woman and a special person for me, for my family,” said Karina Garza.

Karina Garza met Abarca-Nogueda 11-years ago. Since then, Garza said she’s spent birthdays, holidays and nearly every day in between with Abarca-Nogueda.

“She’s so very nice with everybody, really really nice. I remember Laura, I remember she was so smiling every time,” Garza said.

However, the smiles have been few and far between for Garza after learning Abarca-Nogueda, who was a long-time worker at Chipotle, had been murdered. Wichita police said Abarca-Nogueda was shot and killed in her home on Nov. 17 before the suspect abducted her newborn baby and fled to Texas.

“I called her mom, she answered my call said Laura has died, Laura has died. I said no, it’s not believable, it’s not believable,” Garza told KSN.

Nearly two weeks after Abarca-Nogueda’s death and the return of her abducted baby, Sophia, Garza said reality is beginning to sink in. On Tuesday, Garza and her family attended Abarca-Nogueda’s viewing. They wore t-shirts with Abarca-Nogueda’s picture on the front and the lyrics to an “I Miss You” song on the back. Garza said the t-shirts were a way for her and her family and co-workers to pay tribute to their friend.

“They are to say thank you, thank you Laura for working together, thank you for everything,” Garza said.

Garza said about 30 Chipotle employees are planning to wear the Laura t-shirts to Abarca-Nogueda’s funeral on Wednesday.