PAYETTE -- A 24-year-old Payette man who told police he killed his child's mother appeared in court Monday afternoon.
Cody Hays is charged with second-degree murder. He is accused of strangling 23-year-old Amber Schwenn to death last Friday.
Family and friends of both Hays and Schwenn are devastated about what police say happened at Hays' apartment.
Police say they were looking for Schwenn because she didn't show up to work at Burger King.
A family member saw Schwenn's car, but it turned out Hays was driving it.
Once officers arrived, they say Hays admitted he had killed Schwenn and her body was at the apartment.
According to the coroner, Schwenn was strangled to death.
Hays was in Payette County court for a quick arraignment Monday.
A judge appointed him a public defender and sealed documents from the case, so many details remain unavailable to the public.
Some friends and family were in court, including Hays' mother.
After court Joni Hays said this is a horrible situation she never imagined.
"I would like to be able to go out in town and not have people looking at me the way they look at me, people driving by my house the way they are," said Joni Hays, Cody's mother. "I have no control over what has happened. This is not the way I raised my son. I never thought this would happen."
She sobbed in court as she watched her son on the video screen be charged with murder. She says what's happened is terrible, and many families and mutual friends are hurt by Schwenn's death.
"At the upmost is her family. Her family... I mean, Amber, I loved her. She was a sweetheart. She was a part of us," said Joni Hays. "It's hard to even think or feel right now. It's like a blur."
Schwenn's family and friends also said they are devastated and very much still in shock.
Everyone talked about her priority being a mother, that she would pick up extra shifts and had just been accepted into community college to provide for her kids. Schwenn had two children.
This is part of a statement from her little girl's aunt, Aimy Stephenson:
"Amber had a personality that was larger than life. She was an amazing mother. Our hearts are heavy knowing that we will never see her again and that we have to watch her beautiful babies grow up in this world without her," said Aimy Stephenson.
In talking with both families it's been clear the relationship between Schwenn and Hays was rocky for a while.
"Of course they bickered back and forth. It was constant. And they had a twisted love-hate thing going on. But they loved each other in a weird way," said Hays. "There's nothing either one of us in the families, their side, our side, nobody, was ready for this."
Schwenn's mother told us her daughter was deeply loved.
We also heard from some of Schwenn's friends, each saying how much she loved being a mother to two young children.
A memorial for Amber Schwenn has been set up at the Rose Advocates in Payette. The center is a place that offers resources for victims of abuse.
Meanwhile, Hays remains in jail on a $1 million bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 11th.