Children Witness Mother's Murder

Victim Maria Montoya was raising five children and living in an apartment in the 700 block of Fig Street in Escondido.

By Tony Shin
|  Friday, Apr 27, 2012  |  Updated 7:06 AM PDT
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Maria Montoya, a North County mother, was murdered in front of her children in 2006. The killer got away. Now, for the first time, those children are telling us their story. NBC 7's Tony Shin spoke with daughter Jennifer Ledesma, Det. Chuck Gaylor, daughter Kareli Ledesma.

Maria Montoya, a North County mother, was murdered in front of her children in 2006. The killer got away. Now, for the first time, those children are telling us their story. NBC 7's Tony Shin spoke with daughter Jennifer Ledesma, Det. Chuck Gaylor, daughter Kareli Ledesma.

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Kareli Ledesma was 11 when her mother was murdered in June 2006.

"I just have so many memories.. I will never forget her," the 17-year-old said in her only interview since her mother's death.

Maria Montoya, 32, was raising five children and living in an apartment in the 700 block of Fig Street in Escondido.

Investigators say she was talking with a friend near her apartment complex laundry room when she was executed by a man who calmly walked up to her.

"Pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot her several times in front of her three young children," said Escondido Police detective Chuck Gaylor.

Ramiro Ledesma was five years old when he witnessed his mother's murder and remembers everything.

"The man walked up and shot her," Ramiro said.  "I was like.. could this be happening to my mom?"

The gunman ran to a nearby SUV and jumped in through the passenger window as the driver took off down Fig Street.

"Why would someone do this.. in front of her children," said daughter Jennifer, 14.

Investigators won't reveal a possible motive for the murder and won't say who they believe may be responsible because it could jeopardize their investigation.

They need one person to come forward who has information about the suspects to verify their suspicions about who did it and why.

Montoya's children don't understand why someone hasn't given information to police to help them bring the killers to justice.

"Why wouldn't anyone say something about this cruel thing?" said Ramiro.

The getaway vehicle is described as a red or maroon Jeep Cherokee or Dodge Durango.

Anyone with information about this cold case is urged to call Escondido Police or San Diego County Crime Stoppers.  A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.

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