TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — When Zhaleh Marquez ended a call with her older sister two and a half weeks ago, she didn’t expect it to be their last.
“It makes me regret that I didn’t screen record the phone call or something because it was a video call. I don’t have that last memory of her,” said Marquez, who currently lives in Kansas City.
Her sister, 28-year-old Selena Marquez, described as a singer and jokester, was found dead on April 5th. Neighbors say her body was found in a camper at the end of Livas Lane near Schriever. Marquez says Selena was shot in the head and stomach.
“Grieving is weird because it’s an on and off thing. Sometimes you’re OK, and then sometimes you’re falling apart,” said Marquez.
Selena, one of five siblings, moved to Terrebonne Parish from El Paso, Texas about a year ago with a boyfriend. Marquez and her younger sister Gabriela Mata believe Selena was with the wrong people at the wrong time.
“It makes me feel guilty because I feel like I could have done more,” said Mata, who lives in El Paso.
Mata says Selena’s death is hard to accept.
“When you have someone murdered and taken from you it’s a different kind of pain,” said Mata.
“With crimes like this rare in Terrebonne Parish, Sheriff Tim Soignet says he’s devoting as many resources to the case as possible.
“Those types of things shock the community,” said Soignet. “It’s still actively under investigation, but my guys are not going to stop until we solve it.”
Marquez says Selena would often talk about being homesick and going back to Texas during phone conversations.
“There are times I’m thinking I could have done more. I should have brought her here sooner. It’s all my fault. I could have been in her life a little bit more for this not to happen,” said Marquez.
Marquez and Mata now face the challenge of getting Selena’s body back to Texas. It's not been easy with their mom in an immigration detention center and their dad in Mexico.
“So, it’s really hard to get those types of signatures when they’re both in those types of situations,” said Marquez.
These sisters say life has been a constant struggle for their family, uncertain of the future but always certain of Selena’s love for them.
“She always made a point to let us know how much she actually loved us. That’s one thing I treasure because we never had a situation where she made me feel like I don’t know if my sister loves me,” said Mata.
Now unable to hear those words, it’s that feeling these sisters are holding onto.
There is a GoFundMe account raising money to get Marquez’s body back to Texas. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office at 985-876-2500 or Bayou Region Crime Stoppers at 800-743-7433.