19-year-old left to raise younger sister after mother's murder | KOB 4

19-year-old left to raise younger sister after mother's murder

Tommy Lopez
Created: January 21, 2021 11:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 19-year-old young woman has an immense weight on her shoulders after her mother was murdered Friday night. Now, Elyssa Hannigan is tasked with raising her 12-year-old sister. 

“It’s a lot. It’s a hard time," she said.

Elyssa said she wasn't there the night her mother, Elisha Garcia, was on a weekend getaway in Red River. 

“It’s still very new. It’s really hard to believe. I feel like I’m in a nightmare I guess you could say. Our lives are changed completely, forever, you know what I mean? I never thought I’d be 19 and having to plan my mother’s funeral, or having to raise my sister now," Elyssa said. “It’s just so much to take on, and I’m doing the best I can right now.” 

Elyssa's mother was retired from the Army. She described her as a selfless person. 

“My mom was a very loving person. She had a very big heart, always wanting to help people. My mom, before, she’d help firefighters and feed the homeless. She worked with Steve Stucker a lot with Beds 4 Kidz," Elyssa said.

Elyssa is making all the funeral arrangements herself. 

In May, she's set to graduate high school and study nursing in college. Her younger sister Mykaylah, who has trouble hearing and seeing, will live with Elyssa as she fights for custody. 

“Although I didn’t give birth to her, now she’s my child. It’s my job to protect her and to make sure that she’s safe and that she lives a happy life," she said. "It’s going to be hard, and I know it’s going to be a long process.” 

Elyssa's grandmother is helping from California, but she's also battling COVID-19 in the hospital right now. 

According to court documents, a deputy in Red River found Elyssa's mother lying on her back next to a campfire with several gunshot wounds to her chest. She told officers she couldn't breathe.

A deputy wrote that he cuffed the husband, Jesus Torres, at the scene. He also admitted to shooting his wife and pointed out where the gun was. Deputies said they found evidence of at least six shots fired. 

The case is being handled in Taos County District Court. Torres faces second degree murder charges, and prosecutors are pushing to keep him locked up until trial.

To donate to Elisha Garcia's funeral fund, click here. 

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