AURORA, Colo. -- Loved ones gathered Sunday in Aurora to say goodbye to 18-year-old Ally Raber.
The Eaglecrest High School graduate, who recently enlisted in the U.S. Navy, was killed over Independence Day weekend.
An international manhunt for her accused killer continues as family members remain hopeful for justice.
Family members, friends, former classmates and military servicemen were on hand to pay their respects. It was standing-room only at the funeral home and there was no shortage of love for Raber.
“I know that Ally is and will continue to be grateful for being surrounded by so many remarkable friends and family,” her mom, Tiffany Starrett, said during the service.
“Today, as her mother, I want to thank you for personally taking the time to once again honor my special lady.”
Police found Raber’s body on the morning of July 2 at the Knights Inn Motel in Aurora.
Raber's ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Arturo "Art" Garcia, who has a lengthy criminal record, has been named as the only suspect.
Raber's stepbrother said Garcia was released from jail three weeks ago while awaiting trial "for the horror he's already caused to my family."
Garcia’s name was never mentioned during Sunday’s funeral. Loved ones were focused entirely on Raber.
“I’d like to say to my brother and my sister-in-law that my heart goes with you,” Raber’s aunt, Amy Starrett, said during the service. “You are to be commended that you raised such a beautiful daughter.”
Raber is being remembered for wanting to help others. Those close to Raber said she felt the need to change people for the better -- even if it wasn’t in her own best interest.
“Like many times in our own lives, Ally had trouble loving herself in certain moments,” Raber’s close friend Maddie told those in attendance. “Remember that you are enough. You are loved and you deserve all the love in the world.”
Raber was ready to see the world. After recently graduating from Eaglecrest High School, she was preparing for a life of service in the U.S. Navy.
She was just newly enlisted at the time of her death, but veterans who saw Raber’s story made sure the teen still received her honors.
“Even though she hadn’t technically deployed, she did sign a contract to serve this country,” Navy veteran Soren Thoreau said. “For me, that was enough to honor her.”
Family members, refusing to be bitter, are committed to sharing Raber’s story in hopes other young women facing domestic violence will find the courage to get the help they need.
Garcia has ties to Texas and Mexico. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the Aurora Police Department.
Editor’s note: Ally Raber’s stepfather is FOX31 reporter Michael Konopasek’s cousin.