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Loved ones speak after woman attacked, left to die in West Valley City

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-27 19:24:36-05

WEST VALLEY CITY - As police continue to look for a suspect in a homicide in West Valley City, friends and family of Hope Gabaldon search for answers of their own.

"Her last message to me was, 'I love you baby girl. I promise I'll see you tonight,'" said Whitney Bodell, Gabaldon's girlfriend. "My mother called [Hope] her daughter because I was going to marry her."

Gabaldon's friends and family don't know who killed her or why.

"She wouldn't hurt anybody," said Corrina Midkiff, Gabaldon's friend. "She is absolutely amazing, and you couldn't ask for a better friend."

West Valley City Police say Gabaldon's body was found around 10:30 p.m. on the side of a road in West Valley City Thursday night. They say Gabaldon was a victim of a violent attack, and was left to die.

They also said her silver Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen, and police encourage residents to be on the lookout for the car, which is a 2007 model and has Utah license plate W663BR. Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call police.

As the investigation continues, police said they may be able to provide a few more answers by Sunday, but added they are hesitant to say too much for fear of jeopardizing their investigation.

In the meantime, Gabaldon's friends focus on the way she lived, rather than the way she was found.

"That smile, that smile and laugh," Bodell says while looking toward the sky. "I will miss her forever."

A vigil for Gabaldon will be held at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City at 5 p.m. Sunday.