Police in the Collin County town of Fairview are still looking for a man they believe pushed a young woman out of a moving vehicle on U.S. Highway 75.
The woman, 21-year-old Marisol Espitia, died Wednesday evening after being taken off of life support at the hospital, her family tells NBC 5.
On May 30, witnesses told police a black SUV was traveling at high speeds in the northbound lanes of U.S. 75 when a woman came out of the vehicle and hit the ground. Other vehicles stopped and prevented her from being run over. The driver of the SUV kept going.
Fairview Police believe the driver is 21-year-old Victor Pererya, the woman’s boyfriend. Pererya is facing a charge of accident involving personal injury or death, but say the charges may change as the investigation continues. He remains on the run.
Espitia’s family tells NBC 5 there were signs of domestic violence between the two but they could never confirm it until now.
“We are devastated,” said her father Victor Espitia. “Devastated at the way she lost her life.”
Friends say Espitia was an Allen High School graduate and medical assistant who dated Pererya for at least four years.
“You kind of feel like she’s at peace, at the same time you have anger,” said close family friend Stephanie Saras.
Anger, she says, that Pererya is still out there and anger after just now learning about the extent of her friend’s tumultuous relationship of four years.
“People came out and said hey, you know it’s not the first time. She has called before ‘come pick me up’ and you know ‘he’s hit me,’” said Saras. “Victor just had a control over her and you think about it now you’re just like it’s funny how one person can control your whole life.”
Court records show Pererya had a prior criminal history.
In 2017, he pleaded guilty to assault in Dallas County after beating a man for dancing with Espitia at a nightclub.
“I think this is very typical that she did not tell her family,” said Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support in Dallas.
Langbein did not know Espitia or her family, but says victims of domestic abuse often don’t tell anyone out of fear.
“Fear of what he will do. Fear of the loss of that relationship,” said Langbein. “Not only does the perpetrator tell the victim it’s her fault, the victim herself thinks she brought this on on her own.”
Langbein also wanted to address the number one question she’s asked: Why did she stay?
“We should be asking, why did he do it? Why would a man abuse his girlfriend,” she asked. “Leaving is actually the most dangerous time. In fact most women who are killed are killed after they have left.”
Espitia’s family says her funeral services will be held on Saturday.
Langbein hopes Marisol’s story reaches others.
“As tragic as this story is, we hope that this young woman’s life will be the impetus for someone else to reach out and get help,” she said. “Tell police, tell your family. Get some help. We believe you. You’re not in this alone.”
Pererya faces a charge of accident involving personal injury or death.
Fairview Police says with Espitia's death, Pererya now faces a more severe felony charge.
Pererya is also undocumented, according to authorities, and there is ongoing concern that he may have fled to Mexico.
Saras tells NBC 5 Espitia’s organs were not viable, but they were able to donate bone marrow.
Friends and family are planning a vigil tonight at 8:30 at Celebration Park in Allen in honor of Marisol Espitia.
Friends have started a Go Fund Me page to raise money for Espitia’s memorial expenses.
If you need help stopping domestic violence, you can call the Genesis Women's Shelter at 214-946-HELP (4357)