Alex and Vickie Vargas were newlyweds who shared a love of dancing and an ambitious plan for the future.
They had been working to save enough money so they could move from rural Antelope County to Omaha and send Vickie back to college.
The 25-year-old bride hadn’t gotten around to legally changing her name from Victoria Lee to Victoria Vargas after their October wedding. Her mother said they expected to buy wedding rings for Christmas, which they planned to spend with her family in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
Their deaths last weekend abruptly ended those plans.
Authorities found their bodies early Saturday inside a burned mobile home in rural Antelope County. Matthew Hinrichsen of Ewing, Neb., has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson in connection with the deaths.
The couple knew the suspect, said Vickie’s mother, Susan Lee. She declined Monday evening to talk further about the investigation into the couple’s deaths.
Antelope County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the mobile home just after midnight Saturday after a report of a possible domestic dispute involving weapons. On the way, the deputies learned that firefighters were en route to a fire in the same vicinity.
Francisco Gomez, who lived in the mobile home with the Vargases, managed to escape the fire. He was not injured and was released after questioning.
The Vargases’ families are planning joint funeral services.
Alex was born in Mexico and had lived in the Omaha area for about 12 years before he moved to Antelope County. He had less than two weeks remaining at his job at the Fry Dairy farm there, Susan Lee said.
Vickie, who was born in Kearney, Neb., moved with her parents to Missouri Valley when she was about 6 years old. She graduated from high school there and became a city council member at age 19.
She served one term on the council and attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She held a number of odd jobs to pay for school and needed a few more classes to graduate, Susan Lee said.
Vickie just began a food service job at UNO and planned to start classes again in January. She hoped to eventually become an Air Force officer, her mother said. Alex had not yet found a job in Omaha.
Susan Lee said the two planned to move to Omaha after celebrating the holidays and Vickie’s birthday on Dec. 31 in Missouri Valley.
Alex’s brother, Erick Vargas of Omaha, said he looked forward to meeting Vickie’s family members over Christmas.
“She was a really nice and smart girl,” and Alex was friendly and good, Vargas said. “I loved him a lot.”
Alex and Vickie enjoyed all types of dancing and would go to clubs together, Susan Lee said. “They were very fit, very beautiful people who were very much in love.”
“This is just incredibly tragic,” she said.
Alex, whose formal name is Alejandro, is survived by his brother; his parents, Gabino Vargas and Gema Granillo; and sister, Griselda Vargas, of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Vickie’s survivors include her father, Don Lee; sister Brittany Lee; and brother Donald, all of Missouri Valley; and grandparents Donald and June Lee of Troutman, N.C., and William Manfull of Gibbon, Neb.
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