Domestic violence murder victim's memory inspires change - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Domestic violence murder victim's memory inspires change

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CITY COLLEGE (CBS 8) - Dozens of friends, family and community members attended a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening for 19-year-old Diana Gonzalez, stabbed to death in a City College bathroom one year ago. Her estranged husband, Armando Perez, has been charged with her murder, and remains on the loose.

According to Gonzalez's family, every night since her murder, Diana's parents have lit a candle in their daughter's memory.

Tuesday evening, an entire community joined them in remembering a life - and death - that has now helped so many other victims of domestic violence.

"The pain of the loss continues being an open wound that will take much time to heal," said Diana cousin Beatriz Luna.

Gonzalez had filed a restraining order against Perez two weeks before her murder, claiming he had previously kidnapped and sexually assaulted her.

Although Perez was arrested, the district attorney's office declined to file charges.

"Diana did what she felt she needed to do to keep her child and family safe, even at the cost of her own life. that is courage," Luna added.

"Our life has changed a lot," Diana's 11-year-old cousin Miriam Mendoza told News 8. Mendoza is now honoring her loved one's memory by developing a special project through her Girl Scouts' troop to raise awareness about domestic violence.

"I want this to be big," Mendoza added."I want that everyone knows that it's good to speak out."

Already, Diana's tragic story has helped others to find their voice.

One of those victims who spoke at the vigil, Sherry Garcia, said Diana's life and senseless death gave her the courage to escape her own abusive relationship and seek help.

"She gives me the strength to go on each day, to thank God every day I'm here, " Garcia said.

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