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Slain Newlywed Laid To Rest

CHICAGO (STMW) - Two vehicles in the funeral procession Saturday morning for slain newlywed Estrella Carrera were involved in a traffic crash on their way to an Evergreen Park cemetery.

The crash occurred just before 11 a.m. outside Kraft Foods' Nabisco bakery at 7300 S. Kedzie Ave. One or more vehicles knocked down a large sign outside the plant, according to an eyewitness.

Chicago Police news affairs confirmed that two vehicles were involved in a crash, but it was unclear whether anyone was injured. One of the vehicles was being driven by an employee of Foran Funeral Home, an employee at the funeral home said. She said the Summit funeral home, where Carrera was waked on Friday, did not have all of the details of what happened, and that more than 200 vehicles were in the funeral procession.

More than 200 mourners were at St. Rita of Cascia, 6243 S. Fairfield Ave., Chicago for Carrera's funeral. The procession had left the church and was heading to St. Mary's Cemetery at 87th Street and Pulaski Avenue.

The 26-year-old mother of two was found stabbed to death May 12 in her Burbank condo's bathtub. She was wearing a silver sequined cocktail dress she wore to celebrate her wedding.

Her groom, Arnoldo Jimenez, 30, of Chicago, is wanted for her murder. Authorities believe he fled Illinois for a Texas town near the Mexican border to avoid prosecution for first-degree murder, according to an FBI murder. Authorities said Jimenez' parents live in Mexico.

At the church, some mourners wore black T-shirts bearing a photo of Carerra and the words "In Loving Memory," along with her birth and death dates.

Police asked, at the family's request, that media not be allowed inside the church during the funeral mass.

At Carrera's wake, her uncle, Pedro Terazas, remembered her as a little girl.

"She was real friendly to everyone," Terazas said of Estrella Carerra. "It's terrible, this situation right now. All the family is destroyed."

Carrera was the mother of a 2-year-old son, who Jimenez fathered, and she has an 8-year-old daughter.

Eileen Puchalski, who teaches Carrera's daughter at Lee Elementary School on Chicago's Southwest Side, described Carrera as a caring parent who was very involved in her daughter's education. She said the girl is a straight-A student.

Puchalski said that when she saw the girl inside the funeral home, she gave her a big hug and a magazine featuring Justin Bieber.

"She's a well-rounded, beautiful little girl, and my heart breaks for her," Puchalski said.

Altrisha Sitko, 30, of Chicago's West Lawn community, knew Carrera from seeing her at school events. Their daughters are in the same class.

"It's really sad what happened to her," she said. "I wish the best for her daughter and her family."

Sitko claimed she spoke with Carrera on May 9 — two days before she wed Jimenez — and Carrera expressed reservations about marrying him.

"She was saying the reason she was getting married is that he was going to take her kids from her," Sitko said. "She was really scared, and that was the last time I talked to her."

While friends and family grieved for Carrera on Saturday, authorities continued to search for Jimenez.

An FBI warrant issued Thursday said authorities had tracked the use of Jimenez's cell phone on May 13 — the day Carrera's body was found — to Hidalgo, Texas, which is on the Mexican border.

Family members told police Jimenez spoke with his sister by phone that day, telling her he had a bad fight with his wife and left her bleeding, according to the FBI.

Jimenez also told another "close associate" that he was leaving Illinois, and if questioned by police, he should tell them he went to Mexico, the FBI said.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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