Balloon release held for Houston-area mother of 4 found murdered

A vigil was held Wednesday evening in southeast Houston for 38-year-old Maira Gutierrez. The mother of four was found shot to death in her vehicle Monday. 

Police found her SUV at a concrete barrier holding yard along the 2500 block Cedar Crest.

BACKGROUND: Pasadena police search for man accused of kidnapping woman who was later found dead

"She was a great independent woman," said Jimmy Puente Junior, Gutierrez’s oldest son. "Strong heart. Very caring. She just loved everybody."

A memorial has been created where police found Gutierrez’s body. On Wednesday, more than 100 people visited the location for an emotional vigil and balloon release.

"I’m trying to be strong for my siblings right here," said Puente. "Also, for my father. He knew my mom for more than 20 years. He gave us the life with my mom."

RELATED: Pasadena police identify person of interest after woman's kidnapping, death

Authorities say Gutierrez was kidnapped at gunpoint Monday by 30-year-old Daniel Chacon. Police say she was taken against her will from an apartment in Pasadena to the concrete yard in Southeast Houston, roughly 11 miles away.

"I can’t sleep," said Jimmy Puente Senior, Gutierrez’s ex-husband. "I just pray that she walks in the room. She had a crazy laugh that everyone knew. I hope that she just pops out and this is all a dream."


Family members say Gutierrez had repeatedly tried telling police about instances of domestic violence between her and Chacon. According to police, the claims were being investigated and charges hadn’t been accepted.

"She told everybody the same thing, something has to happen to me before they actually pay attention," said Puente Sr. "We have witnesses. We have lawyers she went to."

Police sent out an alert Wednesday evening that they were still actively looking for Chacon. Chacon is accused of aggravated kidnapping and a person of interest in the murder of Gutierrez.