Family, friends of murder victim warn about domestic violence

LAS VEGAS - Nearly a week after a young woman was found stabbed to death by her garage at the San Tropez apartments in the southwest part of the valley, her ex-boyfriend appeared in court facing a murder charge.
 
The family and friends of Makayla Rhiner are now speaking out.
    
Rhiner was just 21 years old.

Police say she met the man who would eventually kill her in class at the College of Southern Nevada.

Her family wants the public to know, domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time not just those in long term relationships.

"She had this way of infecting you with her energy and her smile and her happiness and her go-getter attitude," said Freddy Lopez, friend. 

Rhiner was a young vibrant college student who, her family says, began a brief three-month relationship with the wrong man.

Wednesday morning, her ex-boyfriend, 33-year-old Brandon Hanson appeared in court facing one count of open murder.

Police say he admitted to killing Makayla, saying he was depressed after their June breakup. Her body was found, with stab wounds to her chest and neck in her apartment parking garage last Thursday.

Rhiner's family issued a warning to others saying domestic violence can happen even in short-term relationships.

"In the case of Makayla it was very brief. It was unexpected, but none the less there were signs of domestic violence that we need to be more aware of and they were cause for concern," Lopez said.

"If you see something, say something. Use your eyes, use your ears, use every one of your senses. Because there are always warning signs," said Paul Meadows, godfather.

Some of those signs weren't linked to Brandon Hanson until after Rhiner's death. Her new boyfriend's car and her mother's car were vandalized shortly after they broke up.

Hanson is due back in court Oct. 11.

 


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