Benefit slated to remember Manzanares |

Benefit slated to remember Manzanares

Former Craig resident Erica Arellano-Manzanares had a beautiful voice, but her love of singing was cut short in June when the 31-year-old was shot and killed.

Her husband, Duane Manzanares, 38, is accused of pulling the trigger.

Erica will be remembered at a fund-raiser breakfast and dinner Aug. 27 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

The event is also a wake-up call for people to face the harsh realities of domestic violence, said Erica’s aunt, Pat Padilla.

“I just wanted everybody to remember the victims in these cases,” she said. “I’ve been hearing that she deserves it and people are painting a bad picture of her. A life was taken and she needs to be remembered.”

Proceeds from Saturday’s fund-raiser will go toward paying for Erica’s funeral costs. Money raised also will go toward the Moffat County Victim’s Assistance program and Advocates-Crisis Support Services.

Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. and dinner is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Pat Padilla of Pat’s Roosterante Catering will cater the all-you-can-eat meals. Music and a drawing for a 2005 Polaris ATV will be offered. Tickets are $10 each and $5 for seniors.

Pat Tessmer, director of Advocates-Crisis Support Services, said the benefit is important to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“I think we take domestic violence for granted,” she said. “There’s always the potential for death. We’ve all heard it and seen it but when it touches one of our own it’s a different story.”

Tessmer said people often are criticized for not leaving abusive spouses yet individual circumstances can be complex.

“It’s so unfortunate when (a death) happens and you wonder how that works,” Tessmer said. “It’s not as simple as it looks on the surface. When you recognize (domestic violence) you have to support people through it.”

Erica Manzanares was known for having a beautiful singing voice and would use her children as an audience, Padilla said.

She moved with her husband to Craig from Pueblo in 2002 and worked as a waitress for her aunt, Padilla, at her former restaurant, Pat’s Roosterante. Padilla said Duane Manzanares would often come into the restaurant to fight with his wife. Padilla said she and other family members knew that Duane Manzanares was a jealous and controlling husband, often not allowing her to attend family functions.

Duane and Erica moved from Craig back to Pueblo in January. Erica tried to leave her husband and even threw him out of their home. But she was shot to death in her home about a week after trying to start over with a new boyfriend. Dave Bryant, 19, of Denver was shot in the face but has been released from a Pueblo hospital after losing one of his eyes, Padilla said. Duane Manzanares is in custody and facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Erica is survived by her four children, ages 9, 10, 13 and 15. Erica’s first husband, Pete Montoya, who is the father of the children, will raise them, Padilla said.

In retrospect, Padilla wishes she had been more proactive in helping her niece.

“The way a person is now is how they are going to be,” she said.

“I would have probably taken her myself to a treatment center even though she didn’t want to go. I’d say ‘come on Erica you can’t change a person. You have to get out.'”

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