A Colorado mother of three living on a farm in Ecuador with her husband and children was shot and killed last month during a violent home invasion, reports said Wednesday.
Francesca Williams, 44, was hanging laundry at her farm in the village of Vilacamba on May 20 when a group of men entered their property and began attacking her husband Michael and her father John, reported The New York Post.
Michael was suddenly hit with what he believed was a brick while standing outside, which caused him to collapse.
John, who reportedly suffers from several medical conditions, including emphysema and dementia, was apparently stabbed multiple times by the intruders.
Francesca, upon seeing her father under attack, went to try and help him before she too was besieged by one of the men trespassing on her farm.
“She came down to save him, and I guess they started shooting at her,” Marianna Bacilla, Francesca’s adoptive mother, told NBC San Diego.
One of the Williams’ daughters, Rachel, a teenager, saw part of the attack happening and recounted what she witnessed.
“I saw my grandpa on the floor with a strange man to the right, then I saw another man with my mom and she was scrambling after him, basically fighting him off,” she said according to The New York Post. “Then I saw two sparks of a gun and heard gunshots.”
The mother of three was fatally shot in the back.
It is unclear where the other two Williams daughters were during the attack.
After seeing her mother shot, Rachel shut the door to their home, but the intruders forced their way inside before asking her where the “large aunt” was.
The teenage girl said she had no idea who they were referring to and said no one had ever visited the farm that fit their description – leaving her to suspect the deadly invasion may have been the result of a mistaken identity.
None of the Williams’ daughters were physically harmed.
The men then tied up Michael and ransacked the house, stealing anything of value, including laptops and iPads, before fleeing the scene.
The father of three rushed his wife to the hospital, but she could not be saved.
Michael and his father-in-law are now out of the hospital and are expected to heal from injuries sustained in the attack.
It is unclear how many men invaded the farm on May 20 or what is being done to try and find them.
Bacilla launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise $25,000 for the funeral expenses and “support.”
“They all endured horrendous trauma,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $29,000.
Bacilla said the Ecuadorian community was supporting the family while they worked with the American consulate to bring Francesca’s body back to the U.S.
“Francesca was the light of our life,” her adoptive mother wrote. “Francesca’s family lived on a small farm they were building themselves, raising chickens, goats, horses, pigs, ducks and guinea fowl, working toward a goal of sustainable farming.
“It was their humble Shangri-La,” she added.
The Williams family was set to return to Colorado, where they still had a home, by the end of May. Francesca will be laid to rest next to her birth mother, who died in 2021.