LEAGUE CITY — Fourteen years ago, Leonard Segura was watching his daughter do something few girls would dare — the High Island High School softball star was trying out for the Galveston College baseball team.
On Wednesday, Segura was making plans for her funeral.
Katrina Segura Gonzales, 32, was killed Saturday, beaten with a hammer, police said. Her boyfriend, Felipe Fernandez, is charged with her murder.
“I just found out we can’t have an open casket,” Segura said Wednesday while finishing the details of his daughter’s funeral.
“We get to say goodbye to a box.”
Segura said his daughter was set to move out of the house she and her two daughters shared with Fernandez in League City and into a new apartment Monday.
While he knew his daughter had issues with her on-again, off-again boyfriend of three years, Segura didn’t think it would end in violence or her death.
“I never thought (Fernandez) was capable of something like this,” he said. “If I had known, I would have been there for her. I want justice for my daughter.”
Segura said his daughter was an outstanding athlete and creative, especially with arts and crafts.
He said the family was close, and since both lived in League City, he’d take them to church and just hang out.
Gonzales’ death was just another blow in the month of March for Segura.
Another daughter, his youngest, died in March years ago, after being alive just 22 months. He and his wife lost twins in March 1995.
“Of five girls, I have one left,” Segura said.
That daughter, Ashley Segura, 30, “has been my rock through all of this,” he said.
The outpouring of the community also has been some solace in a week of sorrow, Segura said.
He praised the League City Police Department, which from the start asked for the public to support the family.
“I have been overwhelmed with pleasure with those people,” Segura said. “They have done everything in their power to make sure this gets dealt with.”
Already, an anonymous donor has stepped up to assist with some of the funeral expenses. A local church and Segura set up a memorial fund at a local credit union, while a lifelong friend of Gonzales launched an online fundraising page.
“Any excess we have after the funeral expenses will go to those girls,” Kacey Vratis, a lifelong friend of Gonzales, said of the fundraising efforts.
Gonzales had two daughters Erin, 12, and Jenna, 5.
“I want those girls to grow up so they never have a care in the world,” Vratis said. “Kat was always someone who knew she would make something of herself and wanted that for her daughters. I want them to be able to fulfill whatever dreams they have.”
Vratis and Gonzales knew each other since birth.
“Her mother and my mother were actually in the delivery room at the same time at the same hospital,” Vratis said. “We both grew up on the Bolivar Peninsula, and that’s a very small community.”
The pair were in the same clubs and athletic activities, and both where cheerleaders at High Island High School.
After graduating, both went to Galveston College to study nursing.
Vratis said Gonzales had one particular lovable quirk.
“She would always finish a sentence with a giggle,” Vratis said. “Even if what she said wasn’t particularly funny, if she thought it was, she’d giggle, and everyone else would laugh.”
While Vratis lived in Winnie, and Gonzales was in League City, any phone conversation they had was as if the two lived in the same house.
“We could go three weeks without seeing each other, and we would pick up our conversation as if we had been talking all along,” Vratis said.
Vratis said the one thing she wasn’t aware of was any trouble with Fernandez.
“That’s what I am kicking myself about now,” she said. “If I had known, maybe there would be something I could have done.”
A visitation for Gonzales is scheduled for today in Winnie, while funeral services are scheduled for Friday at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Winnie.
Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or email@example.com.
At a glance
A memorial fund to support Katrina Gonzales’ daughters has been set up by the family at any JSC Credit Union in the area. Donations should be made to the Katrina Gonzales Memorial Fund.
An online benefit fund also has been established. A link to that site can be found at galvnews.com.