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Colorado family heartbroken over killing of mother of five

By Alan Gionet

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    FORT LUPTON, Colorado (KCNC) — Gathered on their front porch in Fort Lupton in support, the family of 36-year-old Valarie Garcia is mourning her loss with sadness and hurt and worrying about her children after they identify her as the woman killed in a weekend act of domestic violence.

“It’s like my baby sister. I feel like I could have protected her and I don’t, I feel like I failed her,” said her sister Anita.

Valarie died Saturday night at Platte Valley Medical Center, her family shared. Investigators believe she was shot while out in a car with Jesse Gladney, a boyfriend of a year and a half. The 36-year-old is now accused of murder and being held at the Adams County Jail.

There was a report of possible physical domestic violence in the 12,000 block of Melody Drive, only a couple blocks west of Interstate 25 and 120th. A short time later, there was another call to authorities from the area of 12,000 Colorado Boulevard about a female shot in a car matching the description of the car on Melody Drive. Soon after, they showed up at Platte Valley Hospital in Brighton where her family says she died.

“He didn’t have to take her life, he could have dropped her off or let go,” said her mother JoAnn Garcia.

Valarie Garcia was mother to five children, ages 6-19.

“She’s beautiful. She’s in heaven now with her daddy. Nobody will ever harm her again,” said her mother.

Gladney was arrested at the hospital and now faces a potential murder charge. Court records show Gladney has a lengthy criminal record going back almost two decades throughout Adams County and Weld County, including a protection order granted against him earlier this month over a menacing charge, a 2023 conviction for obstructing a police officer, a 2023 eluding conviction, a 2014 stalking conviction, a 2014 domestic violence assault conviction, a 2014 conviction for witness/victim tampering, a 2012 conviction for harassment and a 2006 conviction for assault by drugging, among others.

Family members said Valarie Garcia had helped bond him out of jail last week after he was arrested by police in a raid only a few blocks from their family home. He was accused of felony menacing, weapons possession as a previous offender and prohibited reckless use of a weapon.

Family members had long been disapproving of Gladney. Valarie’s mother would not let him come to their house in Fort Lupton.

“She said ‘Give him a chance, mom,’ I said, ‘No I’m not going to give him a chance, I have grandkids raising here,'” said her mother JoAnn.

At one point she called police when he was at the house and sought a protection order. But Valarie continued to see him.

“I wish she would have listened to me I said, ‘Val please get away from him, he’s not good.’ But she didn’t see it in him,” said her mother.

“I think she was afraid of him,” said Valarie’s sister Anita Garcia. “He was right there monitoring her phone calls, monitoring her every move.”

Valarie was spending a lot of her time at the nearby apartment where Gladney was living because he was not allowed at her home. Her family said they believe she never called a domestic violence hotline for help.

“She wanted to leave him and he couldn’t handle it,” said her sister Anita. But she did not. “He’s a coward for taking my daughter’s life away,” said JoAnn Garcia.

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