ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Family and friends are still mourning the loss of an Athens woman who was shot and killed during a domestic dispute on New Year’s Day. Now, Alexis Garth’s family is using their loss as a lesson to teach others about the dangers of domestic abuse.

26-year-old Garth, her two daughters and boyfriend Ky’Ruan Yarbrough, moved into their new home in Athens in January 1, 2022. A Facebook post commemorated the moment as a new beginning and overcoming the odds.

But one year later — January 1, 2023 — things took a turn for the worst.

(Photo: Family of Courtney Garth)

“We left Huntsville,” said Garth’s sister Miracle Scott. “She brought my keys to Buc-ee’s and then not even an hour after that I got a call to come get the baby. I could hear her in the background.”

Scott, Garth’s younger sister, raced to the home while their mother called 911. Police were directed to the home on Oakdale Ridge Lane where Garth was found with gunshot wounds in the driveway of her home.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day — New Year’s Day.

Authorities say the shooting happened during a domestic violence dispute with her boyfriend. Garth’s mother also says Alexis was protecting her three-year-old daughter before being shot five times.

It’s unknown what sparked the argument — but some family members were aware of the couple’s complicated relationship. Scott told News 19 Garth was trying to leave the abusive relationship, but she never thought it would get to this point.

“Me, personally, it just makes me think I could have tried a little harder,” Scott said. “Being one of the people that did know a lot more about it than others, I did try to push… but just knowing what I knew, and if I would’ve known that it would’ve come to this, I would have pushed harder.”

Tears fell Saturday evening as friends and family gathered at Tanner High School for a vigil. Family members took turns coming forward to share stories about Garth.

Alexis Garth’s second sister Victoria Garth recalled her joyous and motherly spirit.

“We just never expected to be here doing all this for her because she didn’t deserve any of this,” said Victoria. “My sister was a genuine person who just wanted to take care of her daughters.”

She also shared an even bigger message for anyone struggling to get out of an abusive relationship.

“All I can say is ‘Please, if they can’t help themselves, y’all help them’,” she explained. “If they don’t want to go, do what I did — call 911.”

As purple balloons filled the sky, they were sent with the proclamation, “Long Live Alexis.”

Yarbrough is facing capital murder charges and was denied bond by Judge Gray West due to the nature of the offense charged and the newly-enacted “Aniah’s Law”.