El Pasoan killed along with her father loved making children smile, says friend

Stephanie Herrera dressed up as a princess. (Credit: Dreams Come True Princess Parties and Sebastian Granados Photography)

Stephanie Herrera and her father were tragically killed in Far East El Paso one week ago. Her coworkers from Dreams Come True Princess Parties said they don't want Stephanie to be remembered by how she died, but rather, the way she lived. They said Herrera impacted many kids' lives.

Stephanie Herrera was known as a princess because of her kind heart and the time she spent dressing as one.

The 25-year-old was shot dead outside her home by her boyfriend, according to police.

Stephanie died along with her father, Enrique Herrera, when Jose Manuel Varela shot and killed both of them early morning on Nov. 9, police said.

Teresa Ortiz, who worked with Stephanie, told KFOX14 she was a beautiful girl with a good heart who cared about making children feel special.

Stephanie worked with Ortiz and other girls who dress up as princesses for Dreams Come True Princess Parties and make appearances at children’s birthday parties.

Ortiz says she and the other “princesses” are mourning the loss of Stephanie, but want the community to know what a caring person Stephanie was.

Celina Wade will always remember her.

"She had a special way with kids. “Right away they would want to go up and hug her, and just be with her all the time. It's like, wow, look at the effect she has on these kids. That's what I notice was so special about her," Wade said.

Stephanie also spent her time offering therapy to children with autism.

“I think it's because she had this special connection she could make with anybody. Because of who she was," Wade said. "We volunteer at the El Paso Children's Hospital. She loved doing that! She loved doing it. We will live on to keep doing that. We will share that inspiration she gave us. To spread that joy, to spread that love, for all the kids."

Ortiz wants to make sure Stephanie’s mother, sister and brothers don’t have to worry about the funeral costs for Stephanie and Enrique. She has set up a GoFunMe account in hope of raising $25,000. So far, $1,670 has been raised.

A rosary for Stephanie and Enrique is scheduled for Thursday.

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