Smithville man accused of stabbing ex-wife to death

The memorial that sits outside of Tracie Zuniga's home continues to grow.

Zuniga, a mother loved by many in Smithville, was killed Sunday. Smithville police say they got a call about an assault at her home around 5:30 pm.

“Screen doors slammed three or four times. Someone yelled ‘You cheated on me.’ No I didn't I never cheated on you, I remained faithful even to this day,’” said Rebekka Gwin, describing what she heard at Zuniga’s home.

Gwin lives across the street. What she saw that day, is something that will haunt her thoughts for a while.

“I saw her running into the street yelling ‘Help me, help me dial 9-1-1,’ Seconds later she fell to the ground and he came out with a knife stabbed her two or three times. Went back and locked the door, and then came back stabbed her two or three more times. It was awful. I just saw a lot of blood. I didn't know what to do. I froze at first,” said Gwin.

“I heard a woman screaming in distress. That's why I ran to my door only because of that. That kind of sound you won't forget,” said Gayle Parker, a neighbor who witnessed the attack.

Some in the neighborhood say more could have been done to stop the attacker.

“He had a knife and they were afraid they were doing to stab them too,” said Gwin. 

Zuniga was taken to Seton Smithville Regional Hospital where she died.  Police arrested her ex-husband 38-year-old Matthew Gordin. Police say he left the scene then called them, confessing to the crime.  Friends say the two were newly divorced.

“Everybody doesn’t deal with separation very well, and everybody doesn’t deal with rejection very well,” said Parker.

Zuniga once worked with Smithville ISD as an aide for students with special needs.

“Tracie was a diligent employee who cared about her children. She reached out and took care of some of our most needy children,” said Cheryl Burns, superintendent at Smithville ISD.

The community is in mourning, but they are hoping in the end, justice is served.

“I’m hoping he will get charged with the death penalty for what he did to her,” said Gwin.

Friends and family are holding a vigil in remembrance of Tracie Zuniga on May, 6 at the Smithville Gazebo downtown. It will begin at 7:30 p.m.