LEWISTON — Laudrinha Kubeloso told her friends that this was a good place to live — a safe place with good schools and opportunities to learn to speak English.

“She was the one that brought me here,” said friend Nadia Nguimbi, speaking through an interpreter at a curbside memorial Thursday morning. “I knew her from Angola. She was family then, and we are family now.”

Kubeloso was killed Tuesday afternoon while walking on Howe Street, near the Birch Street intersection.

Police say her boyfriend, Evaristo Deus, 33, of 37 Union St., ran her down from behind about 3 p.m. as she walked home from her afternoon English language classes. She was four months pregnant, and both Kubeloso and the fetus died later Tuesday at Central Maine Medical Center.

Lewiston’s English language program is one of the reasons Kubeloso recommended that Nguimbi come to Maine. Nguimbi originally landed in North Carolina but found few opportunities to learn the language.

The two shared an apartment for two months last winter, when Nguimbi first arrived in Maine.

On Thursday, Nguimbi was among the 75 who came to the spot in the street to share their grief. It was a multi-lingual affair, with prayers and songs in English, Somali, Portuguese and Kubeloso’s native French.

Kubeloso had been in Maine for about 18 months, according to friends Thursday, and had just been granted asylee status and the right to work.

“We pray for Laudrinha. She was one of us,” said Ebba Ndongla, a member of Kubeloso’s church. “She was a good woman, a good friend and nice to every one of us. But today, she is leaving us because of what has happened. What we want to say is that we will miss her so much.”

Kubeloso spent time at Auburn’s Church of All Nations, taking English language classes and volunteering at numerous organizations. They included Bridges, the downtown Lewiston Auburn Free Newspaper, Trinity Church’s Jubilee Center and College Street’s Hope House.

“We all just fell in love with her as soon as we saw her, whether we knew much about her or not,” said Hope House Co-director Jan Willson. “She had an open heart and it showed in her smile. She helped at our center, and many of the women and children of Lewiston will miss her greatly.”

Many spoke too for an end to domestic violence.

“This has to stop,” said Sally Knight, a friend of Kubeloso’s and a fellow Hope House volunteer. “And it’s not just for women going to get help, for women telling a friend. It’s for the other person, too. Whatever is hurting inside of you, don’t take it out on the other person. Go ask for help. Don’t just say you can do it yourself because you can’t.”

Friends are planning a funeral for Kubeloso, but her death is still being investigated. Pastor John Pierre Tschamala said members of the church will make concrete plans once police release her body.

“She has no family here,” Tschamala said. “We are her family.”

Tschamala said Kubeloso and Deus attended the Auburn church for a time, and Kubeloso sang in the church’s choir.

“But for some reason they left, both of them,” he said. “He left first and discouraged her to attend. She was isolated, and everyone here knew him as a troublesome guy causing problems here and there.”

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Go to Ustream.tv to view highlights from the memorial.


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