FRANKLIN COUNTY, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Dozens of loved ones gathered Friday night to remember the life of Yesenia Funez Machado.
Machado was brutally murdered, authorities say, at the hands of her eldest son, Oliver Funez Machado.
Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App
On Monday, Franklin County authorities responded to a 911 call made by Oliver. In that call he admitted to killing his mother. When they arrived, they found she had been decapitated and mutilated.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE OR DONATE
"The last thing she ever told me was that the perfume I had on smelled really good," said Diana Menzanares.
Menzanares said she grew up alongside the Machado family. She was close to Oliver and considered Yesenia as family.
Menzanares was one of dozens who filled the front lawn of the Machado home on Morgan Drive in Zebulon for a candlelight vigil. Organizers say some people even came from out of state to attend and share memories.
WATCH: Gloria Rodriguez on preparations for the vigil
Leona Smith lives on Morgan Drive and helped organize the 7 p.m. vigil.
"She was a mom, a wife, she was our neighbor," Smith said.
Other organizers from the community put up a tent on the front lawn and posted photos of the 35-year-old mother. The photos show her smiling and even singing.
"Yesenia, she was an amazing woman, loved to dance, very social, she really loved to sing," said Soad Menzanares, another family friend.
They also shared that Yesenia was recently baptized.
"You don't want to lose somebody like her," said Diana Menzanares. "Her smile lit up the whole room. She was such a caring woman, it's just really hard."
They said losing her is hard enough, but how they lost her makes the pain go deeper. The Oliver that sits in Central Prison in Raleigh is not the Oliver family friends said they knew.
"All of us grew up with Oliver," said Diana Menzanares, pointing to herself and other friends. "Growing up with him he was really obedient with his parents, he would look after his little siblings, he would look after his parents. This was a really big shock to the family."
"He was good," said Soad Menzanares, "but after the years you did notice like a little difference."
They describe that difference as him pulling away socially. They never imagined that would lead to what authorities said is a diagnosis of psychosis and schizophrenia. Oliver had recently spent time in a mental facility before his mother's murder.
Also at Friday night's vigil to support the family, were members of the Bunn High School soccer team. They're teammates with Oliver's 15-year-old brother.
"We just want to let him know that we're here and he can count on us with whatever he needs," said Edson Servin, a Bunn High School junior.
The team is also raising money for funeral expenses by selling T-shirts.
Funeral services for Yesenia Funez Machado are scheduled for Tuesday, March 14 at City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations at 4900 Green Road in Raleigh. The family wishes to send her remains back to her native Honduras.
Family friends have also set up a GoFundMe page. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE OR DONATE
Businesses collecting funds for funeral expenses are:
El Pancito Bakery - 1648 N. Market Drive, Raleigh
International Market - 2215 New Hope Church Road, Raleigh
Inter Food Plaza Latina - 1689 N Market Drive, Raleigh