Friends and family members of a St. Paul woman allegedly killed by her husband last week have set up a memorial fund for her 17-month-old son.

Donations will go toward the education and needs of the couple's son, Oliver.

"His day-care teachers describe Oliver as that child who 'lights up the room. He has stolen all of our hearts. He deserves love, peace and hope,'" said the Manya Memorial Fund website

Second-degree murder charges filed against Steven R. Johnson, 34, allege that he fatally shot his wife Manya J. Johnson, 32, then dismembered her body with a saw on Jan. 6 because she said she was leaving him and taking their son.

Police became involved when Manya Johnson didn't show up for work at Target Corp. the next day. Johnson pretended his wife was missing when her co-worker met up with him to search for her. His story fell apart when a friend of his in White Bear Lake called police to report a possible body in his garage.

Manya Johnson grew up in Dodge Center, graduated from Triton High School in 1998, earned a bachelor of science in psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, where she played volleyball, and earned a master's in counseling psychology at Bethel University.

She is also survived by her parents and four siblings.

"Manya Twite Johnson was a warm and caring woman filled with love and hope," said a news release about the memorial fund. "No one can ever replace his mother, but we can join together as a community to support Oliver."

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib