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'She had a joy for life': Phoenix mother, children killed by husband was planning to file for divorce

Marla Hudgens is being remembered as a devoted mother, fierce lawyer and inspiring soccer coach.

PHOENIX — The Phoenix mother of three, attorney, and soccer coach, that was killed by her husband on Wednesday was planning to file for divorce, her best friends tell 12News.

Marla Hudgens and her husband Jasen got married in August 2013. Things were great until recently said long-time friend Amy Bloomfield.

“They had been trying to work through and resolve some issues between them, and it looked like he was making an effort to have things get better, but I guess they didn’t,” Bloomfield said.

Marla, her three-year-old son Christopher, and six-month-old twins, Gwen, and Faye, were found murdered inside their home near 7th and Northern Avenues. Investigators allege Jasen killed them before shooting himself.

“I don’t think she was super happy with the marriage and the connection she had with Jasen, but they were no indications whatsoever of any physical abuse or anything of that sort,” said Rebecca Shook.

RELATED: Police identify 5 family members found dead in Phoenix home

A love for soccer

Bloomfield and Shook met Marla when they were teenagers during their high school years in Reno, Nevada. They were all a part of a competitive soccer club where they even traveled to Europe to compete.

“She played through college recreationally and she kept it up as a coach and it’s been a big part of her life,” said Bloomfield.

While managing a successful career as an attorney, Marla also volunteered at the Madison Futbol Club in Phoenix. She joined in 2014, but most recently she was the Director of Girls' Coaching.

Shawn Grunewald, the MFC president said she is going to be remembered as a friend, mentor, stand-in mom, cheerleader, and coach. Someone who was passionate about getting more girls to play the sport and increasing the number of girl club teams.

“With her commitment to the whole child, Marla taught her players to realize their potential outside of their soccer lives,” a Grunewald said in a statement. “This has led them to collegiate athletic endeavors, and a drive to meet their personal goals.”

Being a part of that club, was something that gave her meaning, said Shook.

“She was very passionate about soccer and she about teaching the girls the game and other life lessons,” Shook said. “Her volunteering basically speaks volumes about her love for the game and for those girls.”

One of the girls she coached impacted her so much, Shook said Marla was considering adopting because of the struggles the player was facing at home.

RELATED: Slain Valley mom remembered as dedicated soccer coach

Being a mother

Aside from her athletic achievements and professional accomplishments, Marla’s friends said it was motherhood that made her the proudest.

“She always wanted to be a mom,” Shook said. “She loved those kids more than anything in this entire world.”

This summer, Shook met little Gwen and Faye for the first time. Christopher was healthy and growing, she recalled.

Getting to that point had been a fight for Marla, as she struggled with fertility for years before she resorted to IVF, Bloomfield said.

“It was so exciting when she got pregnant with Chris because we were pregnant around the same time, I was having my second,” Bloomfield added. “Marla was to be my child’s guardian if something happened to my husband and I, now we don’t have her.”

Back-to-back tragedies

Amy Bloomfield said she last spoke to Marla on Tuesday, the day before she was murdered.

“I had seen her over the weekend because we were at her sister’s memorial service,” she said. “I drove down to Reno and saw her and all of her family.”

Marla’s sister recently committed suicide and her services were on Friday. Bloomfield said Jasen did not attend, that was the last wrinkle in the marriage.

“He was supposed to come up for the service,” Bloomfield said. “Marla told me that he had a big, basically adult temper tantrum and decided that he wasn’t coming.”

Marla got back to Phoenix on Sunday. Bloomfield said she had handmade onesies for the twins and a shirt for Christopher and mailed it to her home.

“I messaged her and told her ‘I have your package on the way, it will be there tomorrow, and she [sent] me a big smiley face and wrote ‘we’ll I’m getting divorced,” Bloomfield said. “That was the last time I heard from her.”

Both Shook and Bloomfield remember Jasen as a quiet, kind person. Someone who never presented any red flags.

“Never really thought he could be capable of something like this,” Shook said. “I feel like Jasen must have been dealing with some really severe mental health issues that he needed help with and for whatever reason didn’t share that he needed that help, and nobody knew.”

“She had a joy for life”

There are not enough words to describe a woman who meant so much to so many people.

But as friends and family wonder what went wrong and why things had to end up like this, they are paying tribute to the person and memories Marla left behind.

“She was a force of nature,” Bloomfield said. “All on her own. She was fierce, loyal, and funny. She was incredible.”

For Shook and Bloomfield, Marla was more than a best friend, she was like a sister. They had been at her wedding and had planned trips and cruises together.

“She was a fireball. She had a joy for life,” Shook said. “She was a passionate, caring mother and friend.”'

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