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Vigil kicks off state's first Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month

Kasia Gregorczyk
November 19, 2017 11:05 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Monday kicks off Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month for the first time in New Mexico after being observed in other states.

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KOB reporter Kasia Gregorczyk sat down with two women well-known to the community after horrific tragedy; two women who want everyone also affected by homicide to join them at a special vigil.

Veronica Rael-Garcia and Nicole Chavez-Lucero have sat in the KOB studio a handful of times before. They've spoken about their tragedies, taken strides to make real change in our state and now they're bringing awareness to the very thing that took their loved ones away.

“I think society here in New Mexico have become desensitized to homicide,” Chavez-Lucero said.

And it may be because 2015 was riddled with it. Rio Rancho Police Officer Nigel Benner was killed that May.

Manzano High student Jaydon Chavez Silver was killed a month later.

Popular Albuquerque bartender Steven Gerecke was killed that same day.

Lilly Garcia was killed in October.

Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster was killed one day later, and unfortunately many more tragic deaths have joined that list.

Out of all that tragedy, the support and advocacy group "RObD" was formed. Aside from the obvious connotation of how an important part of peoples’ lives are stolen from them via homicide, RObD also stands for: Repeat Offenders bring Death, Destruction, Devastation, Distress, Danger, Despair.

Through the creation of RObD, Rael-Garcia and Chavez-Lucero helped foster a space for people who felt robbed of a loved one's precious life, as well as push for stricter laws for repeat offenders.

Chavez-Lucero adds, “grieving is the worst. But the judicial process is just as bad.”

Together, the families of these various victims have stood by each other. They relived all those horrific memories in search of some kind of justice. Justice that Rael-Garcia says she doesn’t think they will ever get.

“We have a lifetime sentence. We don’t get the possibility of parole,” she said. “My Lilly is gone forever, my brother is gone forever. Jaydon is gone forever.”

When the women heard about Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness month happening in other states, they wanted to do something special here at home letting people know they are not alone; that they have a whole community behind them.

A candlelight vigil will be held at Civic Plaza Monday. There, homicide victims from across the state will be honored and their names will be read aloud. Organizers are also asking victims’ families to bring a framed photo or poster board of their loved ones so the steps will be filled with their images.

The vigil starts at 6 p.m. There is still time to get your loved one's name added to the program if you send it by Sunday night. Just submit their name, date of birth and date of death to ROBDNEWMEXICO@GMAIL.COM or call 505-209-3381.

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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