A Montana family is grieving the violent loss of a loved one.  Darby resident Bill Locke learned Monday his daughter, 21-year-old Brooke Locke, was murdered in Maine, allegedly by her boyfriend of six months.

Police documents say the accused killer, 21-year-old Zackery Mailloux, strangled Brooke in the apartment they shared in Bangor, Maine.

Wednesday NBC Montana sat down with the victim's father and stepmother.

After learning about his daughter’s violent death, Locke wanted to share three thoughts -- the bright future that is lost, how shocking a death can be and how important it is to cherish every moment with someone.

Locke describes his daughter as kind and headstrong.  He says she loved being outdoors and bird hunting with her family.

“She was very intelligent, she could have done anything that she wanted.  She could be whoever she wanted to be,” Locke tells us.

Brooke was in her third year at Husson University trying to earn a doctorate in physical therapy.

“It just haunts us and I just want people to understand how tragic this is to a family,” Locke says.   

Locke and his wife, Stacy, live in Darby, south of Missoula, and sometimes hear of violent stories shattering lives but never thought it would happen to them.

“Life is so precious to all of us and to be snuffed out by just an incredibly ignorant act…” said Locke.   

“When it happens to you, its life-changing,” says Stacy Locke.  “Every time we see something on the news or a program on the television, you know, it's going to go right to the core of our being because of this.”   

They have some advice for parents -- “Watch who your children go out with,” says Locke.  “Hug your kid every day.”

After a different type of attack near the University of Montana campus, Locke wants the public to know any kind of violence hits close to home.

“That's somebody’s daughter, mother, somebody’s grandchild,” say the Lockes.  

According to Bangor Daily News, Brooke Locke's alleged killer is facing a charge of first degree murder; he is expected to make an appearance in front of a grand jury at the end of November.