HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — As police work to locate a suspect, a Holland family is grieving the loss of a young mother who was shot and killed in a church parking lot last week.

Cassandra Casares was loved by her family and community who miss her dearly. They want the person who shot and killed her found.

“She impacted me and a lot of people in so many ways. There is not, there is nothing that can narrow her down to anything specific. She was just a little bit of everything that was good,” said her sister Ashley Sleiman.

The 33-year-old mother was shot in the Moran Park Church parking lot in Holland around 8 p.m. on Nov. 6. Investigators say two cars pulled up and parked next to each other in the parking lot of the church. A short time later, shots were fired.

“She was a beautiful soul. She was a people person. She loved anybody and everybody. She gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. She could make a friend anywhere,” said John Garcia, who was her partner and the father of Casares’ son. 

She drove herself and a 34-year-old man to the hospital but died from her injuries. 

“She was a fighter. She fought to the end and suffered an injury that most of us probably can’t imagine. She still drove herself to the hospital with hopes of surviving,” Garcia said. 

Sleiman said the questions surrounding Casares’ death need answers. 

“It tears me apart that her time got cut short. On my behalf I’m not even so much upset that he was the one to pull the trigger. I’m just more concerned and upset with why it happened. Because it happened now my sister is an angel,” Sleiman said. 

The Holland Department of Public Safety is looking for suspect Ramses Velasco Sanabria, who they say lived in West Olive, but haven’t been able to find him. 

“Everyone who knew her knew she wasn’t about putting yourself in this type of mess that would cost her her life. She loved everybody and had an impact on everybody in so many ways,” said Sleiman.

“She is going to be missed a lot. Her kids loved her. She was a great mother and did a lot of activities with him. Did the everyday activities that you would expect a mother to do with her children when you love them the way that she did. Always involved in the schools,” said Garcia.

An undated courtesy photo of Cassandra Casares.
An undated courtesy photo of Cassandra Casares.

Her family is calling for the person responsible to come forward.  

“As a community if you know anything, just please speak up. Those who have ties and have seen him, please speak out and turn him in. Help us get justice for my sister. She didn’t deserve this,” said Sleiman. 

Holland police say they have their detectives working every lead, but they need the public’s help in finding the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Holland Department of Public Safety at 616.355.1100 or email policetips@cityofholland.com. Tips may also be submitted to Silent Observer at 877.887.4536.

A $2,500 dollar reward is being offered for information leading to Sanabria’s arrest.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help fundraise for Casares’ children.