Vigil Held For Murdered Student - NBC 7 San Diego

Vigil Held For Murdered Student



    A 19-year old college student and new mother was remembered by family, friends and classmates at a candlelight vigil held Thursday night on the campus of San Diego City College.

    Family members of Diana Gonzalez, the woman found dead inside a men's restroom in the school's chemistry building on Tuesday night, attended the vigil wearing T-shirts with her picture and carrying Gonzalez' 9-month baby, Crystal.

    "I am sorry for Diana's family, you guys are strong people, she was a strong woman," student Maria Edgar told the family as more than 100 people surrounded them holding lighted candles and signs.

    Gonzalez' mother and sister sat in the front row as people spoke about domestic violence and how it has personally affected them.

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    Would she be alive today if criminal charges were filed against her husband.
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    San Diego police homicide investigators have not revealed what killed Gonzalez  but they are working with Mexican police to find her estranged husband, Armando Perez, 37, who is considered a person of interest.

    Tijuana police issued a public notice asking for help in finding Perez after his blue 1999 Ford Mustang was discovered in a neighborhood in the western part of Tijuana.

    Investigators said Gonzalez and her husband had a history of domestic violence. Gonzalez' sister, Janette, said Perez' aggression and jealousy frightened Diana.

    After a September incident in which family said Perez held Gonzalez inside a motel for two days, San Diego police arrested Perez on allegations of kidnapping, rape and assault.

    “Our domestic violence unit handled the case,” said San Diego police Capt. Jim Collins Wednesday. “They investigated the case. They arrested the suspect and booked him into the county jail. The district attorney’s office reviewed the case and declined to issue at that time.”

    The District Attorney's office released a statement saying it's their policy not to discuss why charges are not filed in a case.

    "We work closely with victims and hold perpetrators accountable whenever possible," wrote San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

    At the vigil, volunteers set up a booth offering information about support services for domestic violence victims.

    Gonzalez recently filed a temporary restraining order against Perez, the father of the couple's 9-month old daughter. In fact, the couple was supposed to be in court on Tuesday, but Perez had not yet been served with court papers because he had not been located.

    "We need stronger laws," said one woman who claims to have been abused by her former fiance.  "Police said to me a restraining order is just a piece of paper."

    "Hopefully, if you know somebody or you are that someone, then get help," Gonzalez relative Patrice Luna told the crowd.

    Police are urging anyone with information about Perez's whereabouts to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Investigators said they considered Perez to be armed and dangerous, and that it was possible he was in Mexico.

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