Natalie Bollinger's Mother Speaks Out; Wants Justice Served
PORTSMOUTH, VA — Natalie Bollinger’s mother has spoken out about her love for her daughter — and the nightmare she has been living in since she learned that Natalie had been found dead.
“I’m proud she was mine,” Rose Self told 10 On Your Side. “All of the work that she had done and all of the plans she made and everything, she was about to get catapulted into all of that, and she was super excited for her life.”
Natalie, 19, was reported missing on December 28, 2017. Her body was found the next day in a rural area on the property of McIntosh Dairy farm.
Self lives in Portsmouth, Virginia, but said that Natalie had recently moved to Colorado to be closer to other members of her family — including her father and twin sister.
The teen was a talented artist who, according to friends and family, had ambitions of becoming a nurse. But everything changed on December 28 when Self said that she got a call from Natalie’s boyfriend, Joseph Marino.
“He said that she was gone — her phone was there, her coat was there, her shoes were there, and that she was just gone,” Self said.
Self said that being 1,800 miles away made her feel “powerless,” and that she was hoping that Natalie was just hanging out with friends. But when the coroner described a tattoo of a three-eyed cat on the nape of the neck, she knew that the body that had been found was Natalie.
Following an investigation, police charged former Domino’s Pizza delivery boy Joseph Michael Lopez with first-degree murder.
According to court documents, Natalie allegedly posted a Craigslist ad asking to put a hit on herself. Lopez, who says he responded to her ad, spoke voluntarily to investigators after they came to his workplace.
According to an arrest affidavit, Lopez has changed his story several times: First, he claimed that Natalie shot herself in the temple but, when police told him that the autopsy results show that Natalie was shot from a few feet away, he said that she begged him to pull the trigger. The affidavit also revealed that Lopez shared disturbing details with detectives about his past homicidal fantasies.
“I don’t care what he says,” Self said. “He didn’t have a right, no matter what his reason was, no matter what.”
Lopez is due to appear in court on April 27. Self said that her friends and family have started a fund in order to help raise money to pay for the family’s travel expenses to and from Colorado. Self said: “I’m her mother, and I need to look at the face of the person who did this … I need to see justice served.”
Self said that any extra money will be donated to the Chesapeake SPCA.
Read more: WAVY