Thousands raised for family of Colombian woman killed in Christchurch

Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera was killed in her Christchurch apartment last Saturday. Photo:...
Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera was killed in her Christchurch apartment last Saturday. Photo: Givealittle
A Givealittle page has been set up for the family of 37-year-old Colombian woman Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera, who was killed in her Christchurch apartment last Saturday.

Bonilla-Herrera was allegedly murdered inside her flat on Grove Rd, Addington, on January 22.

A 35-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

The Givealittle page set up by Bonilla-Herrera's close friends and co-workers had already raised more than $25,000 as of 11am today after being set up on Thursday.

"Our dear friend and beloved colleague Juliana Cayena Bonilla Herrera was tragically taken from us last week. We are shocked and heart-broken that such a beautiful soul has been taken from our lives and feel even more for her family back in Colombia," the Givealittle summary says.

"We would like to help Juliana's family cover some of the costs associated with this sad time. Travel costs are expensive in these Covid times and we hope to make this difficult time more bearable for her family.

"Funds will be paid to a trusted third party on behalf of the next of kin. We are currently working through the process of who this will be and we will update you with further information when available."

Bonilla-Herrera was a 3D designer who moved to New Zealand from Colombia more than a decade ago. Her friends were worried when she failed to show up for a planned hiking trip on the weekend.

The friends had been concerned that they had not heard from Bonilla-Herrera, and visited her flat on Saturday night.

After finding lights on and her car in the driveway, they phoned police.

They were advised they could enter the property if they felt it was safe to do so.

While still on the line to police, they discovered Bonilla-Herrera's body.

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson, the officer in charge of homicide investigation Operation Grove, said that ideally it would have been police officers who entered the property.

However, he told The New Zealand Herald he was comfortable with how the circumstances played out that night.

The man charged with Bonilla-Herrera's murder appeared in Christchurch District Court on Wednesday.

He has been granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without plea to the High Court on February 18.

One donor on the Givealittle page paid tribute to Bonilla-Herrera's vibrant personality.

"Your beautiful smile and personality always brightened up the day. Thank you for the time we got to spend with you! You will be so missed by so many. Sending our love to your family and friends."

A relative said a lot of people admired Bonilla-Herrera for her "value" and because she decided to make her life in New Zealand.

She moved here about 10 years ago to study and fell in love with the country.

"Although you were far from your loved ones you always had a positive and strong attitude facing challenges," her relative wrote in a social media tribute.

"You were not only a great professional but a tireless warrior.

"You taught us that there are no impossible goals. You lived to the fullest enjoying this world with a lot of attitude full of affection towards others and always being a great daughter, sister and friend.

"I join the pain of your mother, your brothers and other relatives. We will always remember you."

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