OLYMPIA, Wash. - A $2.5 million bail has been set for the man accused of murdering his girlfriend near Lacey Monday morning. Now, the mothers of the victim are sharing their heartbreak with FOX 13 News.
Martie Aarhus and Robin "Robie" Perez say their daughter Rayann Perez messaged them separately Sunday night.
"It was snowing, and she sent me a heart and said she'd see me in the morning," said Aarhus.
Both moms never knew this would be the last time they'd ever hear from their daughter.
"I don't know how to breathe without her. She was my everything," said Aarhus.
Marquan Bryant faces one count of second-degree murder while armed with a firearm, as well as notice of domestic violence allegation with an intimate partner for fatally shooting Rayann Perez.
"Never did you imagine it would be your own daughter," said Robbie Perez.
Aarhus said she never liked Bryant and had a "gut feeling" about him.
"I wish I could've saved her. I wish I would have seen the signs, or she would have just came to me," said Aarhus.
Signs of domestic violence can sometimes be hard to see.
Kari Whitacre, Executive Director of the Jubilee Women's Center, says some people don't even realize they or their loved ones are sucked into a cycle of domestic violence.
"Even if you're questioning it, if you're considering 'Is this abuse or not? I'm just not feeling safe in my own environment,' or 'I don't think my daughter is safe, my friend is safe,' call a helpline," said Whitacre.
Whitacre says helplines like these can help anyone suffering through domestic violence 24/7:
- DAWN (800-799-7233)
- New Beginnings DV Hopeline (877-737-0242)
Domestic violence increases during the holidays and Colee Whitnah, a spokesperson for the Women's Center, says they see this right after Thanksgiving.
"We do get some phone calls, a lot of emails, and we even get people coming to the door directly asking for applications," said Whitnah.
The Jubilee Women's Center offers transitional housing, clothing and other aid to women trying to escape domestic violence. For those needing immediate assistance, Whitacre urges victims to get out as soon as they can.
"If you're fearful for your physical safety or safety of your children, leave," said Whitacre.
Unfortunately, it was too late for Rayann Perez.
The 21-year-old woman not only leaves behind her two grieving mothers, friends and the Nisqually Tribe, but also her 17-month-old daughter, Zayla Rae.
"[Rayann] just wanted to make her daughter happy. That's all she ever wanted was to be a good mom to her baby," said Aarhus.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Rayann's funeral and to put a trust fund together for her baby Zayla Rae.
Robie and Martie say Rayann's funeral will be open to the public, but that date is yet to be determined.
If you are someone you know is affected by or subject to domestic violence, you are not alone. Please consult our Domestic Violence Resources page—help is just a call or click away.