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Loved ones remember 21-year-old woman killed after attempted carjacking in Boulder County

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office has arrested three suspects in connection with the incident
Loved ones remember 21-year-old woman killed after attempted carjacking
Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 31, 2022

DENVER —- Loved ones of a 21-year-old killed after an attempted carjacking in unincorporated Boulder County have come forward to share memories and make a plea for community support following the tragedy.

"She was an angel from heaven to live amongst us all, she would give you the shirt off her back," Kailey Vukovinsky said of her friend Taylor Smith Maxwell.

Loved ones remember 21-year-old woman killed after attempted carjacking in Boulder County

Per Boulder County deputies, Taylor was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a car near the intersection of Highway 287 and Yellowstone Road early Sunday morning. Deputies believe the suspects were trying to carjack Taylor's mother in the driver's seat.

The suspects were identified as Martin Cerda, 23, Adriana Vargas, 24, and Marissa Ruiz, 24. All three are residents of the Greeley area, the sheriff’s office said.

The incident began as a pursuit around 12:15 a.m. in Larimer County after the driver of the vehicle, suspected of DUI, failed to stop for a Larimer County Sherriff’s Office deputy.

The vehicle eluded the deputy in the Berthoud area and was last seen southbound on Highway 287, near Highway 56, when the deputy stopped pursuing the vehicle.

Deputies were able to quickly locate four suspects in a camper trailer parked on a residential property in the immediate area and took two men and two women into custody without incident. Only three of the four found in the camper are facing charges.

Vukonvinsky said Taylor had just spent the day out with her mother, and the pair were traveling back from Wyoming.

"Her mom told me they had the most fun day ever — it was the best day. They got Subway. Taylor had an amazing day," the friend said. "She was smiling, laughing the whole time."

Vukovinsky recalled talking to Taylor in the hours before the shooting occurred.

"I literally had just been texting her the night before and then she stopped opening my messages," Vukovinsky said through tears. "And I was like, 'Oh, she probably went to bed. She fell asleep. She's fine.'"

Vukovinsky's grief is the culmination of a decade-long friendship, where she and Taylor bonded over birthday parties, shared humor and compassion for one another.

The pair met at Castle Rock Middle School, and later, they both attended Castle View High School. Vukovinsky said she first encountered Taylor in the lunch room, before inviting her to a birthday gathering.

"I just have countless memories of us just taking pictures and laughing and smiling," she said. "She wanted to be a mom. She talked about it all the time [and] how she wanted to have children of her own and fall in love and get married."

One of Vukovinsky's most recent memories is inviting the late woman to her wedding.

"She was my bridesmaid," she said, scrolling through wedding photos on her phone. Vukovinsky's hands are shaking all the while, followed by a steady flow of tears.

"I'll never forget her," she said

Now, the young woman is focused on generating community support for Taylor's family. Taylor had spent most of her young life caring for her two little sisters, and helping her mother.

"They could use help with the funeral expenses, and right now they have no vehicle," Vukovinsky said.

The car Taylor and her mother had been riding in at the time of the attempted carjacking, is impounded, Vukovinsky explained.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

Cerda and Vargas are each facing second-degree murder charges and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. Cerda is facing additional charges of attempted aggravated robbery and vehicle eluding. Ruiz was arrested for several outstanding warrants, the sheriff’s office said.

According to an arrest affidavit, both Cerda and Vargas has been selling fentanyl leading up to the incident. The court document states, "It was also learned that all occupants of the vehicle had been consuming drugs and that Martin [Cerda] and Adriana [Vargas] had been selling blues (a common street name for illegal Fentanyl) and made approximately $30 previously in the night."