The Vietnamese mother of 35-year-old Ellie Mizon Tran is “heartbroken” and “devastated” after her youngest daughter was assaulted in her driveway around 8 p.m. on Tuesday in Virginia Beach.
Tran was taken to the hospital with critical injuries following the incident and later died, police said.
Her estranged husband, 29-year-old Joseph Vincent Merlino III, has been charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of Tran.
Police had a warrant to search Merlino’s home on Thursday, and the bomb squad was also on scene after investigators were concerned about items that may have been inside, WVEC reported.
“She was full of life, very beautiful and…now she’s gone. It’s so heartbreaking. Of course, I’m devastated,” her mother, Oanh Ly, told WTKR.
Ly, who doesn’t speak much English and came to America from Vietnam with her husband three years ago, added that her daughter was so compassionate toward her parents.
“In all, she was very sweet and kind. She took great care of us since we’re older. She would remind me to take my medication. She’s my piece of gold,” said Ly.
When Tran turned 35 on Sunday, she told her mother and father not to waste their $400 savings on a cake and presents for her.
“It was just her so she would always worry about taking care of everything. Paying rent, paying for the car, all of our health insurance. All of that she had to take care of herself,” said Ly.
Tran provided for her entire family, including her 2-year-old daughter Julie and two elderly parents, who all live in a home in Virginia Beach.
She had lived in the U.S. for several years and worked as a nail technician, said Kim Lieu Huynh, whose sister worked with Tran, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
“She learned how to do nails so she could have enough money to take care of us, her family,” explained Ly.
Although she and her husband have more family in Vietnam, they only want the best for their granddaughter and aren’t thinking of leaving anytime soon.
“We’re going to stay here, we’re not going back to Vietnam,” said Oanh, believing that is what Tran would want for her daughter.