McFarland murder: 'I don't want them to forget their mom'

McFarland murder: 'I don't want them to forget their mom'

McFARLAND, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- The brutal murder of a McFarland woman last week left three young children without a mother.

On Thursday, May 9, police responded to a McFarland home to find 31-year-old Penelope Sanchez unresponsive. Police said she later died from extensive injuries and investigators named her husband, Alfonso Tafoya, as a suspect.

Sanchez's family says her nine-year marriage to Tafoya was rocky at best - riddled with violence and now suspected to have ended in murder.

Sanchez's sister Georgina Rocha is among the family members that are now trying to deal with the tragic loss. 

"They (Penelope's children) are so young and scared ... I don't want them to forget their mom," Rocha said. 

Georgina told Eyewitness news she can't find the words to tell 4-year-old Lauren, 6-year-old Dana and 8-year-old Chloe that their mother may have been brutally murdered by their father. Investigators are following leads that Tafoya could have fled to Mexico. Police say Tafoya, 32 of McFarland, is their only suspect.

The family says Sanchez and Tafoya had recently filed for divorce.

"He had done enough to her in the duration of their relationship that she had finally hit that point that she was finished," Georgina said.

Police advise that Alfonso Tafoya is considered armed and dangerous and believed to have fled to Mexico.

If you have any information on his whereabouts you are urged to call police. 

The family said the girls Lauren, Dana and Chloe are very confused and keep asking for both their parents.

Grandparents Irma and Jorge Sanchez are seeking custody of the three girls. 

Penelope Sanchez's funeral is next Friday, May 24, in McFarland. The family set up a website to help raise funds for Penelope's three daughters.