WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — It’s an exclusive club meeting. A club not one of the members wished they belonged to. Laura Bachman is here on behalf of her brother Eric.
“He was murdered 10 years ago,” Bachman said.
Connie Chavarria will never forget May 10, 2013.
“It changed my life within minutes,” Chavarria said.
One heartbreaking story after the other as survivors came together Sunday for their annual big event hosted by Justice for Homicide Victims memorial foundation. One woman’s parents were murdered in a home invasion robbery. Former assembly member Mike Gatto’s dad was killed same way.
These people are united by the pain they share. They want everyone to know about their group because they know there are others trying to deal with this alone, and they want to help.
“It’s a wonderful bond. We meet once a month,” Chavarria said. And once a year they also gather at Rose Hills and the tears still come easily for Chavarria. “A lot of tears, yeah, yeah.”
She brings the kids here a few times each month to lay flowers on Kenny’s grave. That’s when 8-year-old Nathalia tries to be a big girl and comfort her mom.
“Especially when we go here she cries a lot and then I hug her and say it’s ok,” Nathalia said.
These survivors talk about how lonely their existence is. They say people just don’t know what to say to them. They also say going to the funeral is bad enough. But going to court and parole hearings is even worse because they have to relive it once again.
These survivors made it clear they believe the California justice system is letting them down. They want to see laws tougher. Not more lenient.