OGDEN — Bright, quirky and kind.
That’s how friends remember 30-year-old Ogden woman Bianca Villalobos and her mother, 62-year-old Maria. Bianca was described as a smiley, caring person who loved her mother, and Maria shared much of her daughter’s best traits: kind, compassionate and willing to take in others as her own.
Those who knew Bianca and Maria were in shock upon learning the two were found dead, in an incident police categorize as a murder-suicide discovered in the early morning hours Tuesday. Both died as a result of gunshot wounds, according to police.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Sarah Jane Coles, a friend of both Bianca and Maria. “I’m still in shock.”
Coles said she has known Bianca and Maria for nearly 11 years, and was prepared to celebrate their friend-anniversary in May.
Coles first met Bianca when she started work at a Smith’s Distribution Center in Layton. The two quickly became the best of friends, sometimes being scolded at work for talking too much while on the job. Coles said she and Bianca were inseparable.
“She was just an awesome person, she was the life of the party,” Coles said.
Coles recalled celebrating Bianca’s birthday one morning, when she, Bianca and Maria celebrated the special day with brunch, mimosas and lots of laughter.
“Maria was my other mother, she was so kind,” Coles said.
Coles, who recently moved to Missouri, received messages Monday evening from former co-workers asking for Maria’s phone number. Bianca did not show up to her 5:30 p.m. shift that evening and was not answering phone calls, which was very out of the ordinary. Maria wasn’t answering her phone either.
Michelle Wastlund, one of Bianca’s co-workers for the past six years, had just finished her shift and got home when she too received a call from concerned friends saying Bianca didn’t show up for work. Friends started calling Bianca, then Maria, then Maria’s workplace. No one picked up.
“When no one was answering, that’s when people got worried,” Wastlund said.
Concerned friends then went to their home on 27th Street. Their cars were outside, but no one answered when they knocked on the front door.
Police were called to the home for a welfare check around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to police dispatch records. Wastlund and another friend, Bree Toothaker, said it took some time before police made entry to the home. Inside, police found both Bianca and Maria dead.
As of Wednesday, Ogden Police Lt. Brian Eynon said there is no evidence to suggest their deaths were caused by anything other than a murder-suicide. When asked, Eynon declined to say who police believe pulled the trigger.
Wastlund said she arrived at work around 4 a.m. Tuesday and quickly learned of the terrible news.
“The world and my life will never be the same,” she said. “(Bianca) was the happiest person on the planet.”
Coles said she heard the news of Bianca and Maria’s deaths from a friend who went to the home. She said it’s still difficult to believe what happened.
“He just said ‘they’re gone,’ that’s it,” Coles said. “I lost it. I didn’t scream, but I was just crying.”
She went on to say that the two were each other’s main priority. Bianca would often check with her mother before making plans with friends.
Toothaker’s husband is a manager at the Layton distribution center where Bianca worked, and the two have known each other for around eight years. Bianca was quirky, funny, and had a personality that made others want to be around her, Toothaker said.
While she had never met Maria, Toothaker said she could tell Bianca and her mother were very close, adding that Bianca moved back in with her mother less than a year ago. The news of the two deaths is still difficult for Toothaker to grasp, she said.
“The past few days have been a roller coaster, and it doesn’t seem real” she said. “It’s been off and on, but it’s starting to set in that she’s gone.”
If she could talk to her one last time, Toothaker said she would tell Bianca thank you for being who she was. She would thank her for how kindly she treated her children, saying Bianca could walk into her home and immediately begin playing with her kids.
“If I could see the future, I wouldn’t have let her leave work,” she said.
Since the grisly discovery, Bianca’s two pets, a dog named Astro and a cat named Max, have been in the care of their veterinarian, according to Jamie Carter Park, a friend of Bianca’s.
Bianca adopted the cat from Park several years ago, and the two have been friends since. Bianca would often send Park photos of her feline friend, and the two kept in touch over the years.
“I was lucky to have her as a friend,” Park said. “She radiated love.”
Park said she expects to become Max’s caretaker in wake of Bianca and Maria’s deaths. She said she made a promise to Bianca years ago that if anything happened to her, Max could live with her. Astro is in the care of one of Maria’s friends, Toothaker said.
Coles said she’s sad that Bianca and Maria will never see her new home in Missouri, and they will never have anymore adventures together.
“I wish I could’ve seen their pain,” Coles said.