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Ashley Rodriguez left behind four girls, all 5 years old or younger. Community support has been pouring in.
Ashley Kimberlin Rodriguez
Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office; Adan Quiroz “Manuel” Rodriguez
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The family of a Covington woman found dead Monday is rallying to support her four young daughters.
Donations are pouring in to a Covington church to help the daughters of Ashley Kimberlin Rodriguez, a 24-year-old woman whose body was found in a cemetery. The Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warrant for the arrest of her husband, Adan Quiroz “Manuel” Rodriguez, 29, on first-degree murder charges. Sheriff Kevin Hall said Manuel Rodriguez fled the area Monday after speaking with investigators that morning.
Candi Day, Ashley Rodriguez’s sister, said her family is trying to focus on comforting the four young girls, all 5 years old or younger, while mourning.
“It’s been a very hard time, but we’re trying to hang in there and stay strong for the girls,” Day said. “They need our support more than anyone right now.”
She said the children were the driving factors in her sister’s life.
“She was a wonderful mother,” Day said. “If she wasn’t at work, she was with her babies.”
The girls, the youngest of whom is 7 months old, are staying with Ashley Rodriguez’s mother, Paula Hubbard.
Many members of the community have offered support for the girls through donations. Covington Baptist Church already has filled a room with donations just two days into collecting for the family, according to pastor Chris Poluikis .
“The community is really responding to this tragedy,” he said.
He said the Facebook page set up for Ashley Rodriguez has drawn a quick response.
“It seems to be borderline overwhelming, all the groups that wanted to participate,” Poluikis said.
Day said Ashley and Manuel Rodriguez had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary in April but had been together since Ashley Rodriguez was 16. She said her sister didn’t talk about their relationship much.
The family, Day said, knew there were some problems but didn’t understand the severity. She said Ashley Rodriguez had recently told one family member she was planning to leave her husband.
After Ashley Rodriguez was reported missing on Monday by co-workers at the Woodlands nursing home, the sheriff’s office interviewed Manuel Rodriguez.
Late Monday night, investigators acting on a tip searched his workplace, the Alleghany Memorial Park. In a portion of the cemetery accessible only to employees, they found Ashley Rodriguez’s body partially covered by soil. The sheriff’s office said she suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
Manuel Rodriguez is considered a fugitive, according to the sheriff’s office. He was last seen driving a 2001 green and tan two-tone Ford F-150 with Virginia license plate XPM 2403. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 148 pounds, and has brown eyes and black hair.
With the area’s support swelling, Day said several other fundraisers are in the works to provide for the girls. She said a trust has been set up in Hubbard’s name at StellarOne Bank in Covington to accept monetary donations.
A bake sale is planned for Sunday at the Walmart in Covington, and more fundraisers could be in the works for June.
“We’re especially thankful for our community,” Day said. “They’ve pitched in and been wonderful.”
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