Velasquez family holds vigil after suspected killer appears in court

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THE BRONX -

The family of Lisa Velasquez held another vigil Tuesday evening at the Melrose Houses hours after one of the 25-year-old's suspected killers appeared in court.

Police identified the young woman last week after her body parts were scattered between Barretto Point Park and near Crotona Park.

Police say Velasquez tried to help out a friend in need several weeks ago, leaving her grandmother's apartment at the Melrose Houses to go to Longfellow Avenue.

That self-proclaimed friend, Ciara Martinez, appeared in court earlier Tuesday, facing murder and other charges.

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Police say Martinez and Daquan Wheeler were arguing about their child when Velasquez arrived. They say after Velasquez got there, Wheeler left, then returned to bash her over the head with a hammer.

Wheeler, who is also charged with murder, waived his right to appear before a judge Tuesday. He and Martinez are accused of acting in concert to kill Velasquez and dismember her body.

The victim's family says Velasquez liked to play softball on weekends. She once served the NYPD as an auxiliary officer and was working at Modell's before she was killed.

The family has been through a tragedy similar to this before. Velasquez's mother, Marilyn Ginel, was brutally murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 2006.

Velasquez's wake will be held Thursday at Ortiz Funeral Home on Unionport Road.

The funeral mass will be at St. Raymond’s Church on Friday at 10 a.m.

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