APD victim advocate helps families of homicide victims
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The Albuquerque Police Department officially added a victim advocate to the homicide division back in July. The advocate’s sole purpose is to provide families with the help and resources they need during a difficult time.
"There is no words for pain that deep,” said Terry Huertaz, the victim liaison manager for APD. “There’s shock, there’s trauma, but they’re very accepting of wanting the resources."
Huertaz works closely with Crime Victims Reparation to help families with funeral and counseling expenses, as well as crime scene clean-up and lost wages.
"Some victims, they just have some unique needs and wants and if they bring them to me I work really hard to make sure that happens,” Huertaz said.
She can help mothers like Angel Alire, who lost her son Devon Heyborne about seven months ago. Alire says the loss still doesn’t feel real most days.
"Every morning that you wake up you think ‘was this a dream?’ And then as the day begins you realize that it’s true,” Alire said.
Police believe Devon Munford shot and killed Alire’s son while he was out of jail on a GPS ankle monitor.
"I was in complete shock,” Alire said. “Mind fog, dismay, just it didn’t seem real at all."
She says the resources provided by Huertaz can be invaluable to families trying to process a loss.
"We’re never going to be healed from this completely but at least to know that our families are important, somebody is caring to figure out what happened, it’s important for our healing process," said Alire.
Huertaz has helped 55 families since she took the position in the homicide division in July.