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Southwest suburban bride’s family ‘destroyed’ by her murder

People attend wake for EstrellCarrerForan Funeral Home Summit IL Friday May 18 2012. Carrerwas found dead shortly after celebrating her

People attend the wake for Estrella Carrera at Foran Funeral Home in Summit, IL Friday, May 18, 2012. Carrera was found dead shortly after celebrating her wedding the previous weekend in Burbank, IL. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 1, 2012 12:26PM

Estrella Carrera made headlines this week as the southwest suburban newlywed tragically found stabbed to death in her wedding dress.

But on Friday, her uncle, Pedro Terazas, was remembering her as a little girl.

“She was real friendly to everyone,” Terazas said. “It’s terrible, this situation right now. All the family is destroyed.”

Hundreds of friends, family members and acquaintances packed the Foran Funeral Home in Summit Friday to remember Carrera. Three lots were filled with cars, and a Summit police officer had to direct traffic.

Carrera, 26, was found stabbed to death May 12 in her Burbank condo’s bathtub. Her body was clad in the silver sequined cocktail dress she wore to celebrate her wedding.

Her groom, Arnoldo Jimenez, 30, of Chicago, is wanted for her murder. Authorities believe he fled Illinois for a Texas town near the Mexican border to avoid prosecution for first-degree murder, according to an FBI warrant.

Terazas, of Joliet, said he hopes police catch Jimenez before he flees to Mexico, where authorities say his parents still live.

If they don’t, members of Carrera’s family are waiting for him on the other side of the border, Terazas said.

“Her relatives know him,” Terazas said. “Everyone is angry.”

Eileen Puchalski, 51, who teaches Carrera’s third-grade daughter at Lee Elementary School on Chicago’s Southwest Side, described Carrera was a caring parent who was heavily involved in her daughter’s education.

Puchalski said that when she saw the girl inside the funeral home, she gave her a big hug and a magazine featuring Justin Bieber.

“She’s a well-rounded, beautiful little girl, and my heart breaks for her,” Puchalski said.

Carrera also has a 2-year-old son. Jimenez is the father of the boy.

Altrisha Sitko, 30, of Chicago’s West Lawn community, knew Carrera from seeing her at school events. Sitko claimed she spoke with Carrera on May 9 — two days before she wed Jimenez — and Carrera expressed reservations about marrying him.

“She was saying the reason she was getting married is that he was going to take her kids from her,” Sitko said. “She was really scared, and that was the last time I talked to her.”

Loretta Waits, who said she worked with Carrera years ago at Standard Parking in McCormick Place, remembered Carrera fondly even though she hadn’t seen her in a couple of years.

“She was the best, believe me,” said Waits, who was a cashier, while Carrera parked cars. “It was always something funny she was doing. She kept us laughing.”

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