Story by: JEANNIE MCBRIDE

It’s been a little over a year since Mark and Lauri Wierzbicki lost their 22-year-old daughter, Rachael.

Rachael’s parents and prosecutors say her boyfriend, Shane Casado, shot her to death outside a home on Edson St. in Buffalo in November 2018.

“He was an emotional abuser, master manipulator, and full blown narcissist. He is now in jail at the Erie County Holding Center awaiting trial,” said Lauri Wierzbicki, Rachael’s mom.

Speaking at the Family Justice Center’s “Vigil of Hope” on Friday, the Wierzbickis were not only hoping their story would encourage others to seek help, but also spoke about their unhappiness with the new bail reform regarding domestic violence cases.

“My daughter’s indicted murderer was out on bail for nine days after murdering our daughter. That was really, really hard,” said Lauri Wierzbicki.

Even before the new bail reform, they have been pushing for their “Justice for Rachael” bill that Assemblyman Pat Burke is working on. The bill states anyone indicted for second-degree murder would not be allowed to get bail.

“We understand the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and we understand that people in general have a right regardless, but there needs to be common sense,” said Mark Wierzbicki, Rachael’s dad.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn noted the “disturbing year” of domestic violence cases, noting it happened in both cities and suburbs.

“There were no homicides in the suburbs in 2018, shootings, stabbings, typical homicides. But in 2019, there were six or seven and they were mainly domestic violence,” said Flynn.

The Wierzbicki family has started the “Rachael Warrior Foundation” and partnered with the Family Justice Center to create more satellite offices in Buffalo, Orchard Park, Amherst, and Grand Island to help silent survivors get the help they need.

There will also be an event for the “Rachael Warrior Foundation” at Hotel Henry on February 8 from 7-11 p.m. You can find out more information here.

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