Mother: 'Twisted, sick kind of love' led to Payette woman's death

PAYETTE, Idaho (KBOI) - The parents of a Payette man charged with second-degree murder say a "twisted, sick kind of love" led to his ex-girlfriend's death.

Cody Hays is accused of strangling Amber Schwenn on Friday. Her coworkers say the relationship was one marked by domestic violence.

"This is not OK. It's not," said Susan Mena, who worked with Schwenn at Burger King. "She shouldn't have had to go like this."

Steve DeFrance, Hays' stepfather, said the 24-year-old is taking responsibility.

"He knows he's made a bad mistake," DeFrance said. "I don't know. He's owning up to it, though, not trying to pass the blame onto anybody else."

The Payette Police Department said Hays directed them to his apartment, where they found Schwenn's body. She was 23 years old.

"She was a wonderful person," Mena said. "She was bubbly, always happy. She's a wonderful mother."

Schwenn had two children, including one with Hays.

"It was kind of a twisted, sick kind of love that her family and me, everybody, we couldn't figure them out," said Joni Hays, the defendant's mother.

Joni Hays added the 7-month-old boy that Schwenn and her son had together will now have to grow up without a mom or a dad. She hopes justice is served and that Cody goes to prison.