PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – A funeral service will be held Monday for Natalie Belmonte, the Pembroke Pines woman whose body was found last week in a wooded area near her home.
On Sunday, a visitation was held Sunday at the Boyd Funeral Home in Pembroke Pines .
“She was an amazing person, you know, her smile lit up a room, unconditionally she gave herself up without question, without expectation of anything in return,” Jaime Mir, a friend.
Those who knew the 43-year old woman all described her as a person of endless empathy and love for others. A woman who opened up her family to another by adopting Gerard Lopes, the son now accused in her murder.
“It’s unexplainable, it really is, cause she had a nice relationship with her son,” said Jessica Mendez, a friend.
“It’s crushed our whole family,” said Belmonte’s cousin Sass Sonntag.
Belmonte’s aunt, Ann Marie Boller, said she still can’t believe something like this happened.
“I can’t even think right now,” said Boller, “She’s a beautiful, beautiful person. She was kind, loving, just fabulous, she was my heart.”
Some of Belmonte’s friends became very emotional at her viewing, still stunned by the fact that she was gone.
“I just want to say that I miss her, I love her, and you know the world is a sadder place today because of that,” said Mendez.
A funeral mass in remembrance of Belmonte will be celebrated Monday at the Blessed Pope John Paul XXIII Catholic Church on Miramar Parkway at 10 a.m.
Friday night hundreds of people who knew and loved Belmonte crowded into a school parking lot in western Pembroke Pines to pay their respects. Belmonte’s family — including her mother, daughter, son and brother-in-law — joined the crowd to lead the vigil and make a statement about Natalie.
Her family did not mention Gerard, who is accused of murdering her and dumping her body in a marshland near her home last weekend.
That marshland — along SW 196 Avenue — is where the crowd ended up on Friday night. They placed photos of Natalie, candles and flowers as part of a memorial to her.
Gerard Belmonte, also know as Gerard Lopes, remains behind bars at Broward County’s main jail on suicide watch. The 22-year, who has been charged with first degree murder, is being held without bond.