(KTEN) — Paris, Texas, native Stephanie Loftin had been living with her sister in Florida since November of 2023. She returned to Texas to visit her family in early December.

When the time came for her to go back east, she left her family and headed for the airport in Dallas.

She never made it to her flight.

"I was supposed to pick my sister up from the airport, and I was there, and she never answered me,” said Stacie Scheck.

Loftin was staying with Scheck in Florida at the time of her death.

“I knew that something was wrong. I found out that she did not show up for her flight," Scheck said.

On her way to the airport, investigators said Loftin picked up her estranged boyfriend, Michael Gonzales. Loftin and Gonzales had been in and out of relationships, some of them reportedly being abusive.

"This guy has been beating on her for a long time, and for a long time," Scheck told KTEN. "I've been trying to get her away from him, and she knew that he was eventually going to snap."

Love County Sheriff's Office investigators said it is believed that Gonzales shot and killed Loftin in southern Love County before taking her body to Burneyville, where her body was later found buried.

"My sister was a free spirit. She was always smiling, always had a joke to tell," Scheck said, adding that she hopes her sister's death will encourage families of other victims to be persistent.

"Make sure they stay on top of it, because the minute that this case quits getting worked on, you've lost your battle," Scheck said. "It's terrible. I wouldn't wish this on anybody."