Chicago — Friends and family members of Samantha Maldonado, the woman officials say was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend at a downtown Chicago CTA station over the weekend, are remembering her as passionate, generous, and one-of-a-kind.
Known as Sami, she grew up in Ecuador and excelled in school, graduating from a top university there, her cousin, Paulette Lopez, said in a GoFundMe campaign. Donations will be used to help Sami’s family pay for her funeral and to raise awareness about domestic violence, Lopez wrote.
“Her joyful thirst for life is what brought her and her mom to Chicago, to create and enjoy a better life, and it’s something I’m grateful to have known and learned from her,” said Lopez.
Prosecutors said on Monday that Sami’s ex, 31-year-old Alejandro Arellano, followed her from a downtown bar to the Adams-Wabash CTA station, where he stopped her from boarding a train and stabbed her at least four times. Sami stumbled back to street level and collapsed on Wabash Avenue near Miller’s Pub, 134 South Wabash. She told witnesses that Arellano was responsible for the attack before she passed, authorities said.
“Sami’s mom learned of the dreadful event when she arrived for work the next morning,” Lopez wrote.
“Sami was and is a truly one-of-a-kind, beautiful soul. To talk with her was like being reminded of what true joy and generosity looks like in a person … She used her dedication and passion in all she did, from work to family to continued education, and was even taking English language classes in Chicago to improve her ability to connect with others,” said Lopez. “Most importantly, though, she loved easily and is loved by so many. She constantly looked out for others and was generous at heart, ready to help anyone at a moment’s notice.”
The GoFundMe effort has raised more than $7,700 as of Monday evening.
Arellano is being held without bail.