Man claims girlfriend's death is suicide; investigators suspect foul play

HOUSTON – For the family of 25-year-old Maritza Lopez, the past few days have been filled with heartache.

The small memorial in their living room is a painful reminder their loss.

"My cousin was always smiling; one of the sweetest people you could ever meet," said Italia Campuzano, Lopez's cousin.

Lopez was shot and killed last Sunday at her apartment, according to investigators.

Authorities said her boyfriend, 26-year-old Carlos Gonzalez, who is in the country illegally and who's been on the run ever since, is responsible.

"I mean, you know, we love her and care about her a lot. We miss her. We all miss her," Campuzano said.

Lopez's mother said the couple's relationship was bad and often violent.

According to witnesses, the couple had been arguing the night Lopez was killed.

Their 3-month-old baby was home at the time.

Gonzalez called police and claimed Lopez had accidently shot herself before he took off with their baby, later leaving her at a relative's doorstep, according to investigators.

"I still can't process it, it's a lot to have to go through," Campuzano said.

On this night, Lopez's family gathered to make tamales they plan to later sell, to help cover funeral costs.

As they're leaning on each other for comfort and support, they’re also praying Gonzalez will soon be caught.

"We want to be able to find this guy. We want the police to find him. He needs to be held responsible for what he did," Campuzano said.

The family has started a fund to help with expenses.

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