The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 12, 2013

Friends say 'Sunny' was a gentle soul

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"She was a beautiful soul who was never one to let the little things bother her," he said. "She possessed an uncanny talent to move forward from the troubles of life and always did so with a smile and bright attitude."

Like Hanel, Chapman said her nickname fit her personality.

"She lit up the room everywhere she went, always spreading her seemingly endless joy of life with those around her. You couldn't talk to her without cracking a smile. It didn't matter how often we'd see each other. Every time we'd meet, a hug was always in order."

Chapman said she loved to dance and found fascination in life's odd details, like zebra-print cupcakes.

"She had so much love for everyone around her and for that to be ripped away from all of us in such a way is nothing less than a travesty," Chapman said. "Saying that she will be missed would be an understatement."

Buccio, reached at his home Tuesday, still showed visible signs of the struggle he'd had with his attacker — bandages on his arm and hands and stitches in his ear. He declined to contribute to this report, saying it was still too soon and that he'd be unable to get through a discussion about the loss of the woman he loved.

Friend Ben Kucera said he'll never forget what Gonzalez did for him.

"She was my first friend when I moved to Mankato and I wouldn't know those I know today if it wasn't for her abillity to bring people together," Kucera said. "She always tried to be the best person she could possibly be and inspired me to do the same."

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