Family holds birthday vigil for missing Phoenix mom Christine Mustafa

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Friends and family of Christine Mustafa released balloons in her honor on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Friends and family of Christine Mustafa released balloons in her honor on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The mother of two was last seen more than seven months ago, on May 10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The mother of two was last seen more than seven months ago, on May 10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Co-workers told investigators that Interval would constantly call Mustafa at her job at Walgreens and accuse her of cheating on him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Co-workers told investigators that Interval would constantly call Mustafa at her job at Walgreens and accuse her of cheating on him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Crews have been searching a landfill for her body since late October. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Crews have been searching a landfill for her body since late October. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Her live-in boyfriend, Robert Interval Jr. 37, was arrested in her presumed death. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Her live-in boyfriend, Robert Interval Jr. 37, was arrested in her presumed death. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley family spent Monday holding a solemn birthday vigil for a missing Phoenix mother, who police believe was the victim of murder.

Relatives released balloons for Christine Mustafa on what would have been her 35th birthday. The mother of two was last seen more than seven months ago, on May 10.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Phoenix police ask for help finding missing Phoenix mother]

Prosecutors have charged Mustafa’s live-in boyfriend with first-degree murder as police continue to search a landfill for any sign of her body.

[READ MORE: Police arrest boyfriend in missing Phoenix woman case]

The Phoenix Police Department has been scouring the Buckeye landfill since late October. The department announced last week that it would extend the landfill search for Mustafa into January to ensure crews had time to process the entire area where detectives believe her body may be.

[READ MORE: Landfill search extended for missing Phoenix mom]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Search for missing Phoenix mom Christine Mustafa]

Family members told police that Mustafa had expressed a desire to leave her boyfriend, Robert Interval Jr., because she was fearful of him.

Co-workers told investigators that Interval would constantly call Mustafa at her job at Walgreens and accuse her of cheating on him. On May 10, the last day Mustafa was seen, a co-worker told officers that Interval had again called her at work, then threatened to kill her.

[READ MORE: ?Documents reveal disturbing details ]in Valley woman's disappearance]

Mustafa had made plans with her family to move out of their shared home and get a restraining order against Interval, but family members were unable to reach her by phone after her May 10 shift, according to a search warrant filed in the case.

Interval was arrested June 8 and charged with her murder. The 38-year-old has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

[READ MORE: Phoenix man pleads not guilty in case of missing girlfriend]

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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