A vigil was held in Cincinnati, USA on Sunday to pay tribute to a mother-to-be and her unborn child who were allegedly murdered by the mum's boyfriend on Friday.

Michelle McDonald was shot and killed, allegedly by Antonio Wilcox, on Friday afternoon – and her baby died the next day.

She was eight and a half months pregnant.

Family members have said they are still in denial that Michelle has gone, but that it brings them comfort to know the person they believe to be responsible for the killings has been arrested by police.

They said Michelle was dating Wilcox, and they want her death to help break the cycle of abuse and bring about change for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

Michelle also leaves behind a four-year-old daughter.

“I just feel like so much pain like it’s never going to end,” says her mother, Michelle Sanchez.

The family say that what makes the situation worse is the suddenness of Michelle's death – and the fact that her small daughter witnessed it.

Her cousin, Adrian Blasingame, said: "Within a span of 24 hours, you lose your child and your grandchild unborn.

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“We got immediate justice, and it goes to show God is working with our family.

“We got a four-year-old we gotta help get through trauma for the rest of her life,” said another of Michelle's cousins, Dorthea Young.

Michelle's family say they hope her story encourages others not to tolerate a violent relationship.

Dorthea added: “Just walk away. Just walk away. And stop doing these things in front of these kids."

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Family members recalled how Michelle saw the good in everyone she met and that her good heart is what they’ll remember about her.

They said they want to create a group or event in McDonald’s memory to help others in abusive relationships or suffering from a mental illness.

Wilcox, 31, has been charged in McDonald's death and is expected to appear in court next Wednesday.

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