Murder or Suicide?

Kim Barrett was a dedicated social worker


The death of a 38-year-old Oceanside woman remains a mystery.

On Monday, the body of Kim Marie Barrett was found inside the trunk of her car in the 700 block of Mission Gate Drive.

At this point, Oceanside police aren’t certain if her death was a suicide or murder. What is clear is that Kim led a generous and meaningful life as a social worker, volunteer and friend.

“She was wonderful, kind and selfless,” recalls her friend Meredith Levin. “She had a love for life and a zest for life and I think people were drawn to her because she was so vivacious.”

Friends say only her big heart overshadowed her big smile.

As a social worker, helping others came naturally. For years the San Diego State graduate, helped abused children, victims of crimes and domestic violence throughout the county. 

She also volunteered with the Crime Victims Fund, where she worked closely with Levin.

“She didn't care whether she got the recognition or not,” Levin said. “For her it was all about doing the work and helping people.”

On Monday, Kim’s body was found in the trunk of her car, just a short distance from her Oceanside home.

Earlier that day, she was reported missing by her fiancé. A few hours later, he called police again, to say he'd found Kim's car.

“At this point it's a suspicious death,” said Oceanside Police Lt. Leonard Mata. “We can't make a determination yet if it's a homicide or suicide.”

Just two days before she was found dead, Levin spent time at a party with Kim.

As usual, she was friendly and upbeat. Levin remembers Kim talking about how proud she was of her 19-year-old son. She was also excited about her future wedding.

“It's really tragic. I know her life touched many people and her death even more so,” said Levin, holding back tears.

Now, friends are still trying to cope with the shocking death of a woman that had an impact on so many lives.

“She is someone that I will remember and care about and miss every day.”

At this point, the Oceanside Police says they are waiting for a toxicology report to determine her cause of death.

Contact Us