LEWISTON — It wasn’t Laudrinha Kubeloso’s name that was missed Wednesday morning at the entrance of College Street’s Hope House.

Many of the women who arrived at the downtown charity didn’t even know her name.

But they knew her smile and they knew her spirit.

“She always had a smile; she was just enlightening,” volunteer Barbara Bartshe said. “She was a blessing to all of us.”

Those women were in shock Wednesday morning when they discovered their friend had been killed Tuesday.

“I was driving in my car when I found out, and I just cried,” Bosteyo Yusuf of Lewiston said. “We were friends, we talked. She liked Somali food — sambusa — so I said I would make a lot for her, but now she died.”

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Kubeloso was struck by a blue SUV at approximately 3 p.m. near the intersection of Howe and Birch streets Tuesday, and she died later that day. According to police, she was four months pregnant.

Police were holding 33-year-old Evaristo Deus, of 37 Union St., on Wednesday in connection with the accident.

It was 32-year-old Kubeloso’s job to greet the women, many new immigrants to the country, as they entered the center for the regular coffee hour, thrift store and English as a Second Language classes.

“I only met her here, because we volunteered,” Ericka Myers of Lewiston said. “She was a nice, friendly person.”

Her friends from Hope House are planning a memorial at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at that Howe and Birch street intersection, the place where she was killed.

“We’ll put up teddy bears and candles, flowers, we’re going to pray and sing,” Myers said. “The message is going to be for her and her baby. We as women have to stand together. Domestic violence can’t be tolerated.”

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Bruce Willson, director of Hope House, said Kubeloso was a recent immigrant from Angola who had been volunteering at Hope House since May. He knew that she had been taking English language classes and was interviewing for jobs, especially during the past week.

“I know she was going to adult ed and then she’d come here,” Priscilla Leavitt, manager of the Hope House thrift store, said.

But neither Willson, Bartshe nor the other volunteers knew Kubeloso was pregnant or if she had local family.

“I know she loved children,” Bartshe said. “She was wonderful with the children that would come in.”

They said they often saw her together with Deus, but could not agree on their relationship. Some insisted they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Others insisted they were cousins.

Neighbors at Deus’ 37 Union St. apartment said the two were together often, and that Kubeloso often cooked in Deus’ apartment. Neighbors at Kubeloso’s 78 College St. apartment said the same. Neighbors declined to be named for the story.

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Kubeloso also volunteered for Bridges, the free Lewiston-Auburn community newspaper, and organizer Shanna Cox also described her as a cheerful, hard-working person.

“I saw her three weeks ago, and she had just gotten her asylee status and her work permit and she was just overjoyed with life,” Cox said. “It really killed me.”

Kubeloso helped with planning, distribution and making sure French-speaking people had access to the publication.

“She moved here and, within a month, she was volunteering with Bridges and at the Trinity Jubilee Center,” Cox said. “She just believed in giving back to the place where she had landed.”

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