Family and friends of beloved Chicago pastor and food pantry volunteer Marisol Berrios are struggling to cope after she was found battered to death inside her home Saturday, allegedly by a man she once helped. Berrios was 53.
“Is this what we get when you try so hard to help someone, you have to worry about your personal safety?” asked Berrios’ friend Leatisha Bailey in a tearful interview with Fox 32.
Chicago police allege that Marvin Wells, 59, beat Berrios to death after he forced his way into her home in the 4200 block of West Adams Street just before 8 a.m. Saturday. He then stole a car she had in her possession and her purse.
Wells has since been charged with one felony count of first-degree murder, one felony count of home invasion, one felony count of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, one felony count of possessing a stolen vehicle, and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, Fox 32 reports.
Police told ABC 7 that Wells was arrested after he crashed the stolen vehicle and was found with Berrios’ purse. Berrios’ sister, Patricia Berrios, told the news outlet that her youngest sister found the slain sibling’s body. She said that what Wells is alleged to have done to the beloved pastor “has no name.”
“[She] actually fed him, as well. Like, just gave him food. But, for him to do what he did has no name,” Patricia Berrios said.
Bailey said she was heartbroken when she learned who is alleged to have murdered her friend.
“When I saw his face, my heart was broken because this is someone she fed and even given money to,” Baily told Fox 32. “Marisol would say, ‘Honey, I know they are addicts, they just need a chance, and they just need something to do.'”
Though she wasn’t rich, Pastor Berrios spent a lot of her time volunteering to help the less fortunate around the world, her friends and family say.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Berrios was listed as the executive director of the Mexico-based ministry Naciones Unidas Para Jesucristo.
In a GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $10,000 to help with her burial expenses, organizer Edwin Nieves Jr. said she touched many people with her faith.
“Marisol was not just a beloved family member but also a dedicated pastor who spent her life spreading love, hope and compassion. She touched countless lives through her faith, inspiring sermons, and unwavering commitment to helping those in need. Her strong, soulful spirit resonated with everyone she met,” Nieves wrote.
“Now, in this difficult time of grieving, we want to honor her memory by giving her the farewell she deserves. Unfortunately, the sudden and unexpected circumstances of her passing have left us unprepared for the expenses associated with her funeral and memorial service.”
Nieves encouraged Berrios’ supporters to give whatever they could because “no donation is too small.”
“We are humbly asking for your support to give Marisol Berrios a dignified funeral that reflects the love and care she shared with the world. Your generous contribution will go towards funeral expenses, memorial arrangements, and helping her family cope during this challenging period,” he added. “No donation is too small, and every dollar brings us closer to our goal of celebrating Marisol’s life and legacy.”
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