Family of murdered ASU student creates foundation in her name

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by Alicia E. Barrón

azfamily.com

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 14 at 9:27 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. –The family of a murdered Arizona State University student is speaking out now that the suspect is behind bars.

Bernie Sousa, the brother of Kyleigh Sousa, said he is in town every year at this time and last year was the last time he would see his sister alive.

“Next week will be a year since I saw her," he said. "That is the last time I saw her when I was out for my meetings last year.”

Bernie is back in town for meetings but instead of visiting with his sister, he is meeting with Tempe police detectives following up on her alleged killer’s arrest.

“It’s an emptiness, you know, someplace you used to enjoy is now taken away from you,” he said.

Last May 21-year-old Kyleigh was at a Tempe IHOP restaurant when police say Jose Luis Marquez pulled up alongside her and started a conversation before grabbing her purse and driving off. Kyleigh was dragged and died a few days later.

Kyleigh died in an unwarranted act of violence and that is the reason her brother says he can sympathize with the families of those shooting victims in Tucson.

“I don’t think this situation gets any easier and the people in Tucson, God bless them, they are going through the same thing we went through eight months ago and there’s nothing anyone can say to them to make it any easier," he said. "They are going to have to find way within themselves to honor their loved one.”

Kyleigh’s family formed the Kyleigh Sousa Foundation, which provides scholarships and raises money for traumatic brain injury research.

“We want people to be able to petition the foundation for financial support,” Bernie explained.

The Sousa Family is finding ways to be generous in Kyleigh’s name while still keeping her memory alive.

For more information go to www.kyleighsousafoundation.org.

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