Monroe vigil remembers victims of violence

MONROE — Her death — brutal, tragic and so soberingly close to home — hit the Monroe community hard on many levels.

It crossed racial and ethnic lines.

It left a void for customers at the restaurant and among parishioners at her church.

More than four months later, her family has just begun to grieve,

The stabbing death of Jacoba Ramirez-Rodriguez also troubled police who quickly arrested the suspect — the husband she was trying to leave.

A candle light vigil under a star-let sky Monday night honored Jacoba Ramirez-Rodriguez and other victims of domestic violence. Several dozen people gathered outside the Saint Mary of the Valley Church in Monroe on the crisp fall night. They shared prayers and songs. Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick also spoke. Lovick spoke directly to fathers in the crowd. He urged them to teach their sons that violence in their homes is wrong. A church bell tolled for domestic violence victims.

When he was a young man working as a Washington State Patrol trooper, Lovick had to confront his own stepfather about domestic violence, he said.

Jacoba Ramirez-Rodriguez’ sister, Nicolasa Garcia, and brother Jose Luis Ramirez were there to remember. In life, their sister was a positive presence.

“No matter what the obstacles were, she was always going to be there with her head up,” Jose Luis Ramirez said.

Their sister was an active young woman who loved to help others, Garcia said.

“She was always there to help, no matter who they were,” Garcia said. “I know my sister is very happy because she sees the community coming closer together, and that was very important to her.”

On May 24, Ramirez-Rodriguez, 34, was stabbed 19 times with a kitchen knife that her husband reportedly bought an hour earlier. She’d gone to court to ask a judge to order him to leave her alone, only to be attacked two days later on a downtown sidewalk. She wrote in the paperwork that her husband had been abusive for years.

Oscar Garcia-Pacheco, 32, is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege that he killed his wife after she retrieved a protection order out of her car near the couple’s business in downtown Monroe.

In the months since Ramirez-Rodriguez was killed, the community grieved — and then banded together.

Monday’s event, part of national Domestic Violence Awareness month, was the result of a grassroots desire to salvage hope from tragedy.

“Sometimes good things happen when bad things happen,” Monroe police Sgt. Cindy Chessie said. “A lot of people from our community have gotten to the table.”

Lisa Nicholson, legal advisory director for the Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, said the response has been impressive because so many individuals and groups have stepped forward.

“As a community, there has been so much support and so much coming together,” she said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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