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Regan Gibbs’ mother and sisters mourn her death, hope to help others recognize domestic violence warning signs

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:29 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) - Relatives of a woman whose significant other is suspected of killing her hope someone can be saved by speaking out.

Investigators suspect domestic violence was a contributing factor in former KU soccer player Regan Gibbs’ death. The man she was in a relationship with, Chad Joseph Marek, is charged with first degree murder.

Regan Gibbs’ mother and sisters say Regan was passionate about helping the homeless and mentally ill. They hope anyone who is experiencing domestic violence or suspects someone they know is the victim of domestic violence will seek help.

“I hope you all talk about the warning signs people should look for,” Regan’s mother Kristin Gibbs said Friday.

Kristin Gibbs says her daughter was an athletic, talented goalkeeper for the University of Kansas soccer team.

“She was fierce and sacrificed everything for her family, friends, and team,” Kristin Gibbs said.

Off the soccer field, Regan studied Behavioral Science and planned to help the homeless and mentally ill.

“She had faith in people,” Kristin Gibbs said. “Love for people and she trusted people.”

Regan’s sisters each shared their memories of Regan showing compassion to others.

“Genuinely caring in a way that few people are,” Regan’s sister Ashlyn Gibbs said.

“If you had the chance to know Regan, you would quickly discover how much she loved Jesus,” Regan’s sister Madelyn Gibbs said. “That love transcended to everyone around her.”

Relatives believe the man Regan lived with manipulated her through her faith.

“She was not legally married to the man who took her from us,” Kristin Gibbs said.

Investigators say Marek called 911 on Monday to report he had killed Regan. Marek was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder.

Regan’s family says he isolated her from anyone who expressed concern.

“Her phone was suddenly not working,” Kristin Gibbs said. “Conversations were limited to his phone but on speaker. No video allowed.”

Kristin Gibbs wants anyone in a similar situation to seek resources and get help.

“I’m sure the many people who have had a loved one involved in a similar situation can relate to the frustration of seeing it happening, feeling helpless but never expecting this kind of tragic ending,” Gibbs said.

Relatives said they will hold onto their memories of watching Regan care for anyone who was lost or lonely.

“He will not take her away or the good that she did,” Ashlyn Gibbs said.

Help is available for anyone experiencing domestic violence. The confidential 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-799-SAFE.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, common signs of abusive behavior in a partner include:

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.

Previous coverage:

WATCH: Family of former KU soccer player addresses Regan Marek-Gibbs homicide

Friends mourn death of former KU soccer player killed in Lawrence

Lawrence man accused of killing former KU soccer player