LAS VEGAS (AP) — The older sister of a slain dancer found dismembered and encased in concrete lamented Thursday that she never witnessed her only sibling perform onstage.
“She didn’t know this, but I envied her in so many ways,” Celeste Flores Narvaez told more than 80 friends and family members who gathered to remember her sister, Debora, at a Mass at St. Viator Catholic Church. “She danced, traveled, was single, living the life.”
The teary eulogy came five days after police found Debora Flores Narvaez’s body chopped into pieces and shoved into plastic bins filled with concrete in a Las Vegas home.
The Rev. William Haesaert offered reassurances of eternal life during the one-hour church service and urged loved ones to remember Debora Flores Narvaez’s talents.
“Let us pray that she will continue to dance in heaven,” he said.
The altar at the modest Catholic Church was flanked by two pictures of the svelte dancer who left friends and family and a career in finance two years ago to chase the life of a Las Vegas showgirl.
Celeste Flores Narvaez said the sisters choreographed a routine to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” as children and performed it as adults whenever they saw each other.
Debora Flores Narvaez went on to study business and law, but wanted a more glamorous life.
She dreamed of being a backup dancer on tour and modeling professionally. She performed in nightclubs across the Las Vegas Strip before landing a role in the “Fantasy” burlesque show at the Luxor resort and casino in 2009.
She also struck up a relationship with Jason Griffith, 22, a dancer in the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show, “Love,” at The Mirage resort and casino. She never mentioned her boyfriend to her mother or sister, not even after the relationship became violent.
The two had been dating for about a year when she told police she was pregnant with Griffith’s child. He allegedly stole her iPhone, pushed her to the ground, kicked her and yanked out strands of her during an October dispute.
The couple eventually broke up, but remained friends. Deborah Flores Narvaez told a roommate she was going to his house on Dec. 12 to watch “Dexter,” a television show about serial killers.
Griffith strangled her during an argument that night, according to an arrest report.
He faces counts of murder, battery domestic violence and destroying evidence.
At the memorial service, Celeste Flores Narvaez recalled protecting her sister from childhood bullies.
“There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I would have walked every corner of the world for her,” Celeste Flores Narvaez said. “I wish I could have been there for her this time. Apparently, she was too proud.”
A second memorial was planned Friday morning at the Luxor.
“Fantasy” spokeswoman Leslie Thuet said friends and family will be allowed to give impromptu eulogies.
“Everybody is pretty shaken up still,” she said of the cast. “They were really close, like a family.”
The Flores Narvaez family also invited a local domestic violence shelter for abused women and children to collect donations during the tribute Friday.
Police learned the details of the alleged murder from Louis Colombo, Griffith’s roommate, who told investigators he helped Griffith dismember the body and hide it.
Clark County District Attorney David Rogers said Colombo will likely not face charges.
“Not only did he help us recover the body, he also told us the circumstances of the killing,” Rogers said. “There are a lot of times that we have to negotiate with sinners to get to the devil.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)