PLACERVILLE -- Heather Gumina Waters' mother Joanna Russel is wearing a brave face for her daughter, just hours after getting the call every mother fears.
“We’re super sad about what happened and I don’t know if we’re ever going to be okay,” Russel said. "I miss my daughter."
Gumina Waters, 33, went missing from her El Dorado home in July; loved ones held out hope that the mother of three would return safely.
But, detectives announced Saturday that they believe her remains have been discovered, bringing an end to what has been weeks of heartache and uncertainty for her family and friends.
"My daughter was one of the most giving, loyal people I’ve ever known," Russel said. "I’m going to grieve for a very long time. It’s like the world’s worst nightmare.”
Deputies with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office arrested Gumina Waters' husband Anthony Gumina on Friday and charged him with her murder.
"I’m 100 percent positive that he didn’t do it," Robert Shawaluk, a cousin of the defendant, said.
Deputies claim to have overwhelming evidence against Gumina but his cousin said he’s still convinced of his relative’s innocence.
"He did nothing wrong. He loved her. He loved his wife," Shawaluk said. "And for them to arrest him when he cooperated the whole time . He did nothing but cooperate with the cops.”
Russel said the road to healing won’t be easy but she wants to be strong for her daughter and hopes to be a voice for victims of domestic violence like her daughter, to let them know that help is out there.
"It’s going to be very hard to be without her, but I know that she’s in heaven now,” Russel said.