SAN ANTONIO – Paula Boyd, who died when she was 75, was a mother, friend and a trusted employee. On Oct. 21, 2015, the HEB employee was found murdered in her apartment.
Though arrests have been made in the case, the loss is still heavy on loved ones' hearts. On Friday, co-workers and family members surrounded her grave to remember her in a special way.
"Those of us that knew Paulita really loved her smile. Just the feeling, I can tell you now, that feeling hasn't been the same since she left," said Boyd's former manager, who led a prayer service at her gravesite.
They lost Boyd a year ago, but the pain feels just as sharp, and not just for her family, or her work family. Even her adoring customers at the HEB where she worked for more than a decade said they miss her.
"Especially on Sundays, on barbacoa day. Barbacoa and Big Red, she was the No. 1 seller," said co-worker Gracie Dewalt,
Dewalt worked with Boyd for years and drove her to and from work.
"We'd sit there in the car and talk about her novellas and her growing up and her children and everything else," Dewalt said with a smile. "She was just like our mother."
Dewalt was the one who found Boyd in her apartment the day she never picked up the phone.
"You can't forget something like that," Dewalt said.
The autopsy showed that Boyd died of blunt-force trauma and strangulation. R.C. Curtis, who the family confirms is Boyd's grandson-in-law, was later arrested and charged with capital murder. He was caught on surveillance video the day after the murder trying to use Boyd's debit card at a gas station.
Boyd's loved ones are waiting patiently for Curtis's February court date.
"It's just a process, time-consuming," Dewalt said.
In the meantime, they're celebrating Boyd's life. Boyd's co-workers were the ones who raised the money for a headstone, which was set up Thursday, right in time for the first anniversary of her death. They said private citizens, as well as the San Antonio Fire Department, pitched in for the headstone.
"I wanted this day to be special, and all her days to be special," Dewalt said. "I feel like she's looking down on us and she's thanking us."
Curtis and another man suspected of using Boyd's credit or debit cards after her death are still in jail. The other man in this case, Frank Hernandez Jr., was arrested in November 2015 and charged with felony credit card abuse of the elderly.
David Rocha is also suspected of using Boyd's credit cards and has an active warrant for his arrest. Anyone with information about Rocha's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.