Laura's House, a domestic-violence agency based in Ladera Ranch, will hold a candlelight vigil on Friday for Jacque Villagomez, a 19-year-old aspiring model who was killed by her boyfriend two-and-a-half years ago. The event, which honors Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, will be held at 6 p.m. at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, from which Villagomez had graduated.
Back in the summer of 2008, Villagomez met John Needham, a 25-year-old Iraq War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. A New York Times story titled "A Focus On Violence by Returning G.I.'s" described his deep troubles and how Villagomez "thought she could save him." A whirlwind romance followed.
On Sept. 2, 2008, police reported that Needham beat Villagomez to death in his father's condominium. Needham died of unknown causes while awaiting trial.
In Villagomez's memory, her friends donated money to Laura's House and have been involved with the organization ever since.
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The vigil, which also aims to promote Laura's House's HEART (Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships for Teens) Program, will take place in the campus' Upper Quad.