Slain Maple Grove woman 'left behind hopes and dreams,' family asks for donations to domestic violence program

Maria Fury was found killed in her home on May 2, 2020. ( The Pew and Weimelt Families )

The family of a Maple Grove, Minnesota woman, who authorities say was killed by her husband, is asking people to honor her memory by supporting domestic violence programs.

Josh Fury reported his wife, 28-year-old Maria Fury, missing to police on Thursday, according to the criminal complaint. After a search of their home on Saturday with K9s, officers discovered Maria's body buried in the crawl space. Josh later admitted to strangling and suffocating her. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

In a family statement, they described Maria as a "happy, strong, resilient, supportive, and caring individual" who loved animals, exercise and her family. Though, with her life cut short, they say she leaves behind "undone infinite possibilities." 

Now, her family is looking to give her a platform to help others. They launched an online campaign called Maria's Voice and are asking instead of flowers for people to donate to Cornerstone Advocacy Services’ safe housing program. Amid the stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in calls to Minnesota's domestic violence hotline.

"If we can change the outcome for at least one woman, Maria would be so proud and honored," read the statement.

Full statement from the Pew and Weimelt families:

"Maria Pew is a victim of a horrific, unthinkable crime. But we will not allow her to be remembered that way; Maria would hate it if the world saw her as a victim. Maria was so much more. She was our daughter, our niece, our cousin, our friend; she loved her family and was fiercely loyal. A happy, strong, resilient, supportive, and caring individual, Maria did so much in her 28 years. But she also left behind hopes and dreams, and she left undone infinite possibilities.

"Maria was a desired child. She was welcomed as an infant, adopted from Mexico City, into a large loving family with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and two adoring loving parents, all whom she deeply loved in return. Maria was an intense feeler. As a multicultural person with a beyond white perspective, she was someone who saw the world from the other's perspective. This approach framed her intolerance for the unnecessary, her dislike of phony, allowing her to be content with who she was, and not concerned about how others may see her.

"Maria was a cheerleader, literally and figuratively. She was a cum laude college graduate, an exercise queen, and a big eater of little portions. She was someone who noticed clouds, sea shells, waves, and sand, but could trip over the biggest object in a room. A believer in change and redemption, Maria always helped fix other’s broken wings; she was hopeful and always optimistic. Maria was quirky with a dry sense of humor, resulting in hundreds of funny stories that will forever make us smile.

"A dog, a horse, and an all around animal lover, Maria was a girl who kept toys for her 'little wiggle butt', her 90 pound black lab, in a Victoria’s Secret tote, and wrapped him up in her 'Vicky blanket'. After being taught how to ride a horse by her dad, Maria rode 'Buddy Buck Snipe', an old fat horse who barely moved for anyone else but her. With Maria on his back, he was a slim and fast gelding. Maria’s dad also taught her to water ski, wake board, fish, hunt, ride a snowmobile, snowboard, drive a large truck safely in Minnesota winters, and cross country ski. At the age of 2 ½ years, her dad was certain Maria would be the first Mexican-American Olympic gold medalist on the U.S. cross country ski team.

"Maria was a striver, an achiever, a pusher, a problem solver, and a doer; always putting those attributes to use. Maria did not need or want a big life. She wanted a small and personal life, with just a few in it, to whom she gave her love to intensely. She was private and introverted at times, yet always smiling, generous, warm and welcoming. Her ability to be in the moment, to just experience a new joy, was a remarkable trait about Maria.

"A friend once said that Maria was loved and cared for by two people who could not possibly love her more. Maria’s mom and dad loved watching her walk into a room, or pick up the phone when she called. She’d always say, 'Hi guys. How’s work? How are you doing?' She would end the conversation by telling them that she loved them, and they would always say that they loved her too. At the start of Covid-19, Maria often told her parents 'Mom and Dad, you need to be careful. I can’t lose you.'

"Maria’s mom and dad never thought they would lose her. They thought she would be there to hold their hand when it was their time to pass. Instead today, Maria’s dad talked to both the medical examiner and the funeral home, managing unthinkable details for his only child.

"In an effort to change the ending of Maria’s story for other women, we ask that you please consider supporting Cornerstone Advocacy Services’ safe housing program. If we can change the outcome for at least one woman, Maria would be so proud and honored. A link has been set up to donate in honor of 'Maria’s Voice': https://www.mightycause.com/story/Mariapew. Learn more about Cornerstone here: https://www.cornerstonemn.org/.

"We would like to thank the Maple Grove Police Department for their swift action in finding Maria. They devoted extensive resources, all the while demonstrating extreme professionalism and compassion. We are grateful for their expertise and kind manner during an excruciatingly difficult time. Mostly, we thank these first responders for treating Maria as if she were their missing child.

"Thank you to our entire community for your incredible outpouring of love and support."

Domestic violence resources:

Are you or someone you know in danger of domestic violence? There are resources immediately available to help keep you safe:

  • In Minnesota, call Cornerstone’s Day One Crisis Hotline at 1-866-223-1111.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
  • Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.