Billboard remembers Surprise teen who was killed in relationship plagued by domestic violence

A Surprise family is honoring their teenage daughter who was killed in December.

FOX 10 reported on the death of Faith Villanueva back in late December of 2019. According to Surprise Police at the time, officers responded to a movie theater located near 137th Avenue and Waddell Road for reports of a man forcing a woman into a car.

When officers arrived at the scene, they were advised of a vehicle leaving the area and heading towards a nearby neighborhood. When officers located the vehicle, they found Faith, along with Jafar Tigue of El Mirage inside the car, shot.

Surprise Police officials say Faith was shot and killed by Tigue.

“She would have been graduating in May, and now we have to bury our child," said Faith's mother, Sabrina Anderson, back in December 2019.

Faith, 18, was supposed to be graduating high school, but police say she became the victim of domestic violence.

Two months prior to Faith's death, she took out a restraining order because she finally turned 18. The family says officers told her it wasn’t enough to build a case, despite having texts and evidence.

Family says billboard sends a message

"It's hard. I miss her so much, we all do, but we speak of her everyday," said Anderson, almost five months following the tragedy.

Members of Faith's family say they want to remember Faith and spread awareness to domestic violence, and they have erected a billboard to honor a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her.

"It's a message," Anderson said. "You have a date that there's a passing. It's inevitable, and it was domestic violence issue. I just want people to know that there are options out there, and at least get the hotline out there."

The billboard can be seen by drivers on US 60. The billboard features Faith, smiling and wearing her cap and gown.

"Friday, she would have graduated high school. She never made it," said Anderson. "Granted, we're in a 2020 situation where many kids couldn't get to walk across the stage, but for Faith, she didn't get the opportunity to come to that day. I just want to honor her and the hard work she did."

Faith may have passed on, but her family says her job isn't done, using her memory to help others, even if it's just one person.

"Faith was an amazing person, and I want people to see that and remember her for that, but I also want to bring awareness to domestic violence," said Anderson. "I want people to know that it's not just an adult issue. It happens with teens also. I think it's important that young people know that they have a place they can go to, and there are outlets and places to get help."

The billboard isn't the only thing keeping Faith's memory alive. The family has set up a scholarship fund for a student who has hopes to attend a community college, like Faith was supposed to be doing in the fall.

"They would need a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5, because Faith, she studied so much and it didn't come to her naturally, and it was important that a student that also works hard obtain that scholarship," said Anderson.

In Memory of Faith Maria Villanueva

Domestic Violence resources in the City of Phoenix