Community Mourns Kids, 9 and 2, After Mom Killed Them & Turned Herself In

 Community Mourns Kids, 9 and 2, After Mom Killed Them & Turned Herself In

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A Southern Colorado family is grappling with profound grief as they laid to rest 25-year-old Esmeralda Contreras-Mata, a victim of what police suspect to be a murder-suicide. The tragic event unfolded in an unincorporated area of El Paso County, where Esmeralda and another individual were found deceased on May 16.

Esmeralda’s sister, Maria Rushay, expressed her deep sorrow, saying, “I feel like there is a hole in my heart and I can’t breathe.” She shared the common advice she’s been given during this harrowing time: “Just one day at a time,” yet she finds little solace as each day passes.

Matthew Barbee, Esmeralda’s adoptive father, described the last few weeks as a surreal nightmare. “Any circumstances where you have a 25-year-old mom who gets taken away, it’s just unimaginable,” he said. He highlighted the crucial support from family and friends, which has been indispensable in coping with the loss, told FOX4KC.

Barbee reminisced about Esmeralda’s journey into their family. She entered his life when she was just 14, dating his wife’s adopted son. “From then on she was part of the family already,” he noted. When she turned 18, she asked him to formally adopt her, an act that deeply touched him and brought them even closer.

Esmeralda was a devoted mother to four children, and her nurturing nature was evident. “I just loved watching her with her babies, it was really sweet to see that side of her,” Rushay recalled. She described Esmeralda as a protective and loving parent, always eager to teach her children new things and defend them no matter the circumstance.

Barbee added, “She loved being a mother. She loved hair nails and makeup. She had plans to go to beauty school.” Her aspirations and daily joys painted a picture of a life full of potential tragically cut short.

As the investigation into her death continues, the family emphasized the importance of addressing domestic violence. They encouraged those in abusive situations to seek help and not be ashamed to ask for support multiple times if necessary.

Rushay urged, “They hit you, just quit defending them,” highlighting the critical need for victims to protect themselves and seek external help. Barbee stressed the importance of community support, reflecting on the tragedy, “You have to speak up, not just be strong and try to take care of it yourself. You’ve got family, you’ve got a support community. It didn’t have to end this way.”

For those facing similar challenges, resources such as Tessa are available for support, underscoring the message that no one should have to face such hardships alone.

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