PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — In 2022, over 2,000 homicides happened across Texas and of that number, about 40 murders took place in the Rio Grande Valley.
A local non-profit is helping bring awareness and remember those whose lives were cut short.
“To my extended familia, our support group members I will never leave you in this journey of grief and seeking justice,” CEO of Rio Grande Valley Family and Friends of Murdered Children Robert Garcia said.
Garcia says September 13th, 2011 will be a day he will never forget because that’s when his older brother Rogelio was killed during a murder-suicide case in Harlingen.
Garcia says at that time there was no help when it came to resources, which left him overwhelmed with emotions.
“That’s when I welcomed to my first panic attack, welcome to anxiety, sleeplessness asking for resources asking why,” Garcia said.
Since then, he’s started Rio Grande Valley Family and Friends of Murdered Children organization which is aimed to helping Valley families who continue to suffer after losing a loved one.
Proclamations across the Valley, including Hidalgo County, certify September 25th as National Day of Remembrance for Murder victims.
“It really informs the communities out there that they’re not alone there is a special group an organization who reaches out to the different communities in case they need any help,” Crime Victim Liaison with the Pharr Police Department Mario Garza said.
Garza says they help loved ones with counseling resources, relocation services, to even medical payments.
The department says they see about 80 to 90 cases monthly within their entire victim’s unit from human trafficking, domestic violence, and homicide.
“These individuals need, number one the emotional support, that’s real big, people don’t know where to turn to they can call us and we can help them we can guide them we can even talk to them, we’re not counselors but we just kinda guide them with whatever they need,” Garza said.
Non-profit leaders say in their 12-year span they have remembered 260 murder victims and have helped over one thousand loved ones.
They say the goal is to never forget and to keep educating the community.
“Number one, it’s important to honor them, keep the memories alive, number 2 always remember who you’re loved one is, and be the voice of the voiceless,” Garcia said.
The nonprofit hosted its 11th annual candlelight vigil to honor murder victims at the Jose “Pepe” Salinas Memorial Center in Pharr.