Family of Bay Area Marine killed in Va. talk to ABC7

OAKLEY, Calif.

Lance Corporal Sara Castro Mata's family had a short meeting with members of the U.S. Marine Corps Sunday - they're making arrangements to collect her body once federal agents complete that portion of their investigation. The family said it's still tough to believe she's gone.

Outside the Oakley home of Sara Castro Mata's family - a small sticker on her dad's truck describes how they've felt for the last year - that's how long it's been since she completed boot camp.

"I felt very proud since she made it through the boot camp," said Gabriela Castro Mata, Sara's sister.

In fact, nearly the entire family traveled to be with her at boot camp graduation. But the pride of having a U.S. Marine in the family has been overshadowed by shock.

"I cannot believe it, you don't want to believe it," said Gabriela.

Last Thursday night at the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia, Sara and Corporal Jacob Wooley were shot to death allegedly by Sergeant Eusebio Lopez before he killed himself.

Early Friday morning Marine officers personally notified Sara's mother -- it's news she's still trying to deal with. Maria Mata says her daughter is gone, and they're never going to see her again.

On Sunday, Sara's family shared pictures and memories of her; Sara was a huge Laker's fan and wanted to meet Kobe Bryant someday. And not so long ago - she was glamorously dressed for prom at Liberty High School in Brentwood.

"There's a lot of smiling in these pictures," said ABC7's Sergio Quintana.

"She, everybody can tell you, her smile, she always put a smile on her face," said Gabriela.

Sara's mom says everyone always said Sara was happy - because she always had a smile on her face. They shared the pictures because this is how they want Sara to be remembered.

When Sara's sister and mother were asked why Sara joined the Marines, they said it was because Sara believed it's the toughest branch of the military and she was a tough girl.

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