MANDEVILLE – A grief-stricken community is dealing with the gruesome murder of a beloved recovery advocate.

Authorities say Julie Dargis was stabbed, beaten and had her throat slit by her estranged husband who then allegedly went on a smash and grab spree.

Co-workers at Passages Hospice and Long Branch Recovery Center will no longer see 37-year-old Julie Dargis’ infectious smile.

“Julie was an absolutely amazing person. She was funny, she was quick-witted, she always had us laughing and she always just had a spirit about her. Always wanting to help people, always wanting to be involved,” Chris McMahon, owner of Passages Hospice, said.

McMahon said that Dargis was always caring for others especially in the realm of addiction recovery.

“As a person who had been through it personally with family members, she knew how hard family suffered with addiction and she really cared a lot about having other people offered a chance to recover,” McMahon said.

Authorities say Dargis’ estranged husband, George, has a lengthy criminal history that includes drugs. They suspect he was on drugs when they say he brutally murdered her in their Mandeville home early Saturday morning then robbed a business and drove through three others, before crashing on the Twin Spans.

All of this comes days after bailing out of jail from an arrest for leading deputies on a pursuit in Julie’s car while being in possession of liquid codeine.

“We adored Julie and a lot of people are grieving right now,” McMahon said.

Co-workers are planning a tribute to Julie at the company’s new Abita Springs facility to keep her memory alive and giving spirit in action.

“I know with absolute certainty that she would want us to go on and keep fighting,” McMahon said.