Cruising for Christine: Tucson family plans benefit to raise awareness about domestic violence

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Christine Betancourt was 26 years old when investigators found her with obvious signs of blunt force trauma.

"We're not doing well," said Christine's aunt Angela. "We're angry. Very angry. We're hurt, but mostly we miss her."     

The man accused of killing Christine is her boyfriend 26-year-old, Manuel Encinas. The night Christine died in February, Encinas was shot and killed by deputies at a Circle K.

Family members describe Christine as selfless and loyal. Christine was close to her aunts, cousins, and relatives in Tucson, and the incident has been a "nightmare" for the family.

"I think she was really in a phase of finding her place in the world," Angela Betancourt said. "She had just achieved her bachelor's degree last April had her own apartment. She had a really good job, she had goals."

Angela says the family didn't know much about her relationship because it was only a few weeks old.

"In her situation, I feel it's important to point out that because this was such a short relationship, there weren't any signs that she had time to ignore or even acknowledge because it happened so quickly," Angela said.

Christine's aunt Melinda says, of course, she wonders what led up to the tragedy, but they're not going to be able to get those answers so they're focused on trying to move forward.

This Saturday the family hosted Cruising for Christine. The car show, memorial run, and raffle started at 10 a.m. at the Hotel Tucson City Center.

Proceeds will go to Emerge! Center for Domestic Abuse and Homicide Survivors, Inc. The Betancourt family wants to help others so no one has to feel their pain. 

"You don't know what's going on behind closed doors, but no one should have to live their life in fear," said Melinda Betancourt. "And it needs to be brought to the forefront and we need to find a way as a community to deal with this."

The family also established a foundation in Christine's name called the CMB Foundation. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to Emerge!, in 2016 16 people died from domestic violence-related incidents.

The organization will have two donation drives to collect supplies for domestic abuse survivors. The "Stuff-the-Truck" events are scheduled for October 13 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Canyon Del Oro Baptist Church. The second event will be October 27 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Rincon Congregational Church.

Here's more on how you can get help.

MORE: Reports released in February deputy-involved shooting.

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