INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Classmates of the young mother murdered in her downtown apartment gym remember her as a quiet, driven woman who was coming into her own.
Carina Rodriguez attended Brightwood College. After hearing their classmate was the victim in the murder they quickly thought of her young son and the family in Texas she often spoke about.
Rodriguez moved to Indianapolis from Texas just a few months ago. She was pursuing her associate’s degree in the medical field, according to relatives.
"The second week she told me that her goal was to get straight A's in all of her courses she has three this semester. I know for my course she was definitely on track to get that a and just kind of breaks my that she didn't have a chance to see that final," said professor Stacey Preston.
Preston was Carina's human resources teacher. She heard the news of a woman who was killed in a downtown apartment last Friday. Then she discovered it was the ambitious student who sat in the corner in the front row.
"I saw it on Facebook. I saw her picture. It was just absolutely shocking and sickening," Preston said.
Classmates returned to school knowing their close-knit group would be missing someone.
"When you think about her, you see her smiling face and her just her bubbly personality it's just so unfortunate that a good person lost their life like that she was a good person," said classmate India Stone.
In just a couple of months Carina went from shy and reserved to the front of the class doing group presentations.
"She came in dressed in a suit ready to do her best and her group did a really good job. You know her family can be proud of what she did here," Preston said.
Friends here want Carina's family to know she was achieving everything she set out to do in Indianapolis and she was loved in her new home.
"We as a class loved her instantly. She fit right in. She was a joy to know and to make acquaintances with," Stone said.
Carina told her classmates she was excited to go back home to Texas to celebrate her and her son's birthdays at the end of the month. Her baby boy will turn 1. Carina would've been 24.