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'We just want justice' Family of murder victim mourns following soldier's arrest

Murder victim donates organs to save lives
Meghan Santiago
Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 08, 2021

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (WTVF) — A pregnant murder victim's family wants justice after a soldier was arrested.

Meghan Santiago’s husband, Fort Campbell Special Forces soldier Joseph Santiago, is now charged with murder.

Joseph Santiago
Joseph Santiago is charged with murder for the death of his pregnant wife at Fort Campbell.

At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, there was an honor walk for Meghan. The mother of three donated her organs to help others. Meghan's mom is in a wheelchair, and you can hear her crying in the video.

Meghan's cousin, Emily Varcak, said they're all grieving. She grew up in Florida with Meghan, so she video chatted with NewsChannel 5. "She was so kind, and she was just a great mom," Varcak said.

On September 27, Fort Campbell authorities responded to Meghan's home for what they called an "incident" in their news release.

Meghan and her unborn child were rushed to Vanderbilt. Fortunately, they were able to save her baby. "We just want justice for Meghan and her kids," Varcak said.

Fort Campbell issued a statement which said in part, "This tragic event has shaken our entire unit. We take all allegations of domestic violence seriously, and we will provide every resource to ensure a thorough investigation."

A family friend said Meghan reached out to her for help before she was killed. Sandra Budowski was planning on picking up Meghan from Fort Campbell on October 7 but it was too late.

"We communicated that weekend, and then I didn’t hear anything," she said.

Budowski believes Meghan reached out to her because she's a domestic violence survivor. "It’s definitely not easy, you have to have the willpower, and you have to be ready," Budowski said.

As the Army investigates the murder, family and friends have closure knowing Meghan saved lives through organ donation. “It means the world to us,” Budowski said.

The baby is still in the NICU, and reportedly doing well. Varcak said her other two kids are safe in Kentucky. They're trying to get them home to Florida.

A GoFundMe has been set up to assist her children.