Claudia Carbajal was on her way to pick up her cousin, Marta Esmerelda Ramirez Carbajal, on the night of Nov. 17 when she found out the devastating news.
Marta, or “Tame” as she was referred to by her friends, was a victim of domestic violence after being fatally stabbed by her partner, Karen Abigail Delacruz-Reyes. Riverhead police responded to the East Main Street home where they two lived for a report of a disturbance and found no one was home. The victim was found a short time later at Peconic Bay Medical Center, where she died. Marta was 20.
Family and friends will gather to remember the El Salvador native at services Tuesday night. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. John Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead and a funeral Mass will begin at 8 p.m. Her remains will be transported back to El Salvador with her parents, Ms. Carbajal said. McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home is assisting the family with funeral services.
Marta moved to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2017. She lived at the East Main Street home with Ms. Delacruz-Reyes for a little under a year, her cousin Elmer Salguero said.
He remembered his cousin as a kind, joyful and popular person and mentioned one of her passions was soccer. She played on the soccer team called Juventud los Prados that’s part of a Calverton based soccer league for about three years, Mr. Salguero said.
“The truth is for her age, she was a great soccer player,” Mr. Salguero said in Spanish.
Another soccer league called La Liga de Riverhead, or Riverhead Soccer League, held a tournament fundraiser for Marta’s family on Sunday at Stotzky Park in Riverhead.
Six teams participated along with donations from local businesses like Quick Stop Deli and Kind Regards, according to Paul Villafranco, who organized the event and runs the league with his father.
Marta’s family attended the event and all the money that was raised was given directly to them that day, Mr. Villafranco said.
It was the second time in as many weeks the league hosted a fundraising tournament.
The first took place Nov. 21 for members of the Rivera family who died in a fast-moving house fire only two days before Marta’s death.
A raffle held during that tournament split proceeds between the fire victims and for Marta’s family.
Ms. Carbajal said her family members and friends will remember the joy Marta gave to those around her.
“We try to remember her that way, with the happiness that she had and transmitted an immense joy to all of us,” Ms. Carbajal said in Spanish.
Police have charged Ms. Delacruz-Reyes with first-degree manslaughter for the stabbing. She pleaded not guilty and was remanded without bail at her arraignment in Riverhead Town Justice Court on Nov. 19. According to a criminal complaint, she stabbed her partner once in the chest and once in the hip, which proved to be fatal.