Family remembers Visalia woman whose body was found in orchards

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- 37-year-old Kristy Van Es from Visalia was found Friday morning in orchards near Avenue 288 and Road 68 in Tulare County.

Her family describes her as a kind, loving and supportive woman.

They say she always encouraged her loved ones, especially her two children, to strive to be the best they could be every day.

Her family now heartbroken and searching for justice.

The Visalia Police Department arrested her husband, 41-year-old Thomas Van Es, for her death.

Court documents show Kristy had filed for divorce.

RELATED: Visalia homicide detectives arrest 1 after woman's body found near orchard

Kristy had also been the victim of domestic violence in the past and had asked for a restraining order against Thomas in September of 2021 and January of this year.

Action News obtained the files where Kristy describes fearful moments.
In reads in part, "Tom was angry with his him mom and threw down a speaker. I told him to stop and that he needed to pick it up. He then walked up to me and shoved me into the stove." Another says, " I am scared that Tom will intentionally hurt me or my kids."

She also shares a moment when Thomas loaded her shotgun and went outside to fire it.

Kristy's family shared a statement with Action News that says, "The needless and unnecessary loss of Kristy has left our family with broken hearts and shattered hopes that this was one horrible nightmare. We are all trapped on a roller coaster that we all wish we could get off. We would like to see justice served for the future that was taken from her far too soon."

Kristy worked with Visalia Unified School District, who also released a statement, saying, "Kristy's service to the students and staff of Visalia Unified was exemplary. She will be greatly missed by her VUSD friends and colleagues."

Thomas is currently at the Tulare County Pretrial Facility awaiting arraignment.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
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