NEW ROCHELLE, New York (WABC) --Family members say Ashley McDuffie was a loving mother who would do anything for those she cared about, and that she didn't deserve to die. Now, her family is not only struggling to understand her death, they still haven't even told her two small children that their mother is gone.
The vibrant young mother's entire world revolved around her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Last week, 27-year-old McDuffie vanished without a trace.
"She loved her kids, she loved her children - she genuinely loved those kids, and she loved life," said the kids' grandmother, Linda Hines.
Hines says she immediately knew something was wrong when McDuffie didn't respond to her phone calls to pick the kids up. Hines also reached out to McDuffie's new boyfriend, Jason Myers, but got no response.
"She made him out to be such a wonderful and delightful person, where evidently he really wasn't," Hines adds.
On Friday night, police discovered Ashley's body in Seton Falls Park. Hines says the Medical Examiner told family she was choked to death. Mt. Vernon police say Myers confessed to killing and dumping her body.
Now, two small children are motherless, and countless other friends and family are heartbroken.
The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death at an autopsy later Saturday.