PLANTATION, Fla. – Friends of a South Florida woman allegedly gunned down by her estranged husband in Plantation told Local 10 News she was a hard worker and innocent soul who endured years of abuse by him.
Ngoc "Jade" Nguyen's ex-husband, Brandon Ngo, 51, remains in jail on a premeditated murder charge.
"She became someone very special very fast," Nguyen's close friend, Angie Adamez, said.
Jade Nguyen's friends are in mourning, tearfully remembering a young woman who touched many with whom she came in contact. They said she would brighten someone's day even when she quietly suffered.
"She was beautiful. She was sweet. She was selfless. She could come to work having the worst day and still make sure you are OK," Adamez said.
Friends chronicled years of physical abuse they said she endured at the hands of Ngo.
"She would try to cover up her black eye. She would try to wear long sleeves so no one would see the marks on her arms. I know it was really hard for her and deal with that and come to work and just pretend to be OK," Adamez said.
Friends said the couple had been living apart for several months, and they said Jade Nguyen was just starting the process of filing for divorce.
Ngo married Jade Nguyen six years ago and brought her to the U.S. from Vietnam.
Friends said she didn't have anyone in South Florida but started working as a nail technician and developed bonds with her clients, often telling them how scared she would be and even texting them about her fear of Ngo.
Adamez said she spoke to Jade Nguyen the night she died.
"She told me she loved me. I told her I loved her, too, and I told her that we would get through whatever happens," Adamez said. "I called her the next morning, and she didn't answer."
Another friend, Mai Nguyen, said Jade Nyuyen also called her Friday night and she left the line open so her friend could hear Ngo’s threats.
"She called me because she was thinking about Brandon -- maybe kill her," Mai Nguyen said.
Police said Ngo fatally shot Jade Nguyen around 10 p.m. Friday and then barricaded himself in her apartment before police arrested him.
Friends said Ngo sent them photos of Jade Nguyen's body, along with a selfie of himself. In that photo, blood can been seen on Ngo's neck.
"We are aware that he took (pictures) with his wife’s body," a spokesperson for the Plantation Police Department said.
He appeared in court the next day, where a judge denied him bond.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page in order to pay for Jade Nguyen's funeral.
"Her story needs to be told. Everyone needs to know because there’s a lot of people out there that is going through the same thing," said Elizabeth Helling, a friend.