LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Devastated friends spoke to 8 News Now about Jennifer Ratay Wednesday. The 39-year-old woman’s body was found in a 55 gallon drum inside a garage on Tuesday, according to police.
Wendy Wilder is one of Ratay’s close, childhood friends. She said what happened to the woman is “just not right.”
“She didn’t deserve this,” Wilder said as sorrow soaked through her words. “We were inseparable, all through high school.”
Wilder spoke about her friend’s life she said was stolen way too soon.
“I wish I could have spent more time with you” Wilder shared her message to Ratay. “I didn’t know that you were in so much trouble.”
38-year-old Chuck Chaiyakul confessed to Ratay’s murder, according to police. He reportedly admitted to shooting and killing her. Officers even said he told them where to find her body.
“We watch crime shows all the time” Wilder reacted to the manner of Ratay’s murder. “You never think it’s going to happen to somebody you know.”
Wilder told 8 News Now that Ratay leaves behind a daughter and mother. She shared her message to them as well.
“I’ll be praying that you guys make it through this,” she said to the family. “Because it’s going to be hard.”
Now, as Wilder tries to push past this unthinkable trauma, she said she will cling to the times she cherishes. She hopes her collection of treasured thoughts will always keep Jennifer’s memory close to her heart.
“I always had fun with Jen,” she recalled. “She was one of my bestest of friends.”
Police believe Ratay did know Chaiyakul, but the nature of their relationship still isn’t clear. The suspect is in police custody, facing charges for murder and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He is due back in court Friday.
Ratay’s friends said they are planning multiple events to honor her life in the coming weeks. 8 News Now is told a vigil will take place Thursday at 7:00 p.m. People are set to gather near the home where Ratay’s body was discovered, in the 5700 block of Garden Grove Avenue. That address is located near Rainbow Boulevard and Flamingo Road.