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Learn More. Only 18 years old, Victoria was in the middle of a rebellious streak — questioning authority, arguing about friends and choices, chafing against the rules. The kind of stuff that happens when a teenager becomes an adult. She was opinionated, too — argumentative and stubborn, but also kind-hearted, willing and able to find the good in people. Victoria wanted to go to junior college to make a career for herself and even had an interest in becoming an emergency dispatch operator.
Her great strength, her mother said, was connecting with and relating to people, guiding them. Victoria had her struggles, too: depression and other mental health issues that she treated with medication.
Santa ana girl’s body found in griffith park : classmates say she entered car on way home from school; strangled, molested, police report
But in the weeks leading up to their fight, Victoria stopped taking those meds. Her behavior became erratic, culminating when she was pulled over right in front of her family home, where they lived in Santa Ana. Eva and Victoria fought that night, and Victoria left. Barrios thought her daughter had left to stay with a friend. Days passed. Then, about a week after Victoria left home, Barrios got a call from her daughter's friend. Barrios thought that it would be a superficial wound, that she would get her daughter from the hospital, that Victoria would realize that her behavior and attitude could lead her to dangerous places.
That they would talk, that Victoria would learn from what happened and that they would move forward as a family. When she got to the intersection near where Victoria was shot, she ran into the officer who pulled Victoria over in front of their house just days earlier. The police refused to answer questions but kept asking questions about Victoria — what her hair looked like, if she had any tattoos or identifying marks.
According to Santa Ana police, Victoria was walking with two friends near Oak Street and Pine Street when an SUV — either red or maroon — with at least three people inside pulled up to them. The rear passenger door opened, a passenger pulled a handgun and started shooting. Victoria was hit, along with one of her friends.
The friend was taken to the hospital and eventually recovered. After what felt like an interminable period of waiting and answering questions from the police, Barrios was told that Victoria died at the scene. She was floored. All she wanted to do was see her daughter at the hospital, to prove that there was no way that the body still on the ground a few yards away belonged to Victoria. She rushed to the privacy screen that police had erected and was pulled away by police.
Police believe that the killing was gang-related, but Victoria was not intended to be the target that night. Surveillance video at the scene caught the moment that police believe Victoria Barrios was killed. But after the initial flow of information, the investigation slowed. She remembered seeing billboards for missing persons cases, asking people to share information if they knew of or saw someone who had disappeared.
$50, reward offered after year-old woman shot, killed in santa ana
The first billboards went up in early The de was simple: A photo of Victoria in her high school graduation gown to the left. We want people to see this and go, what is all this about? The Barrios family was given suggestions as to where to place their next billboards to catch more attention — including one along the 22 freeway. The billboards also included a call to action, asking anyone who might have any information to contact Santa Ana police, along with contact information for OC Crime Stoppers, a non-profit crime tip-line.
And their incredible visibility, he said, has been very effective.
Santa ana mother takes the search for her daughter's killers to billboards
Beyond strictly sharing information, McLeod has found the campaign to be hugely ificant throughout the Santa Ana community. The billboards have brought families together to share empathy and support and create a network of families who have lost loved ones to violent crime, he said. The Barrios family is carrying on, Eva said. But Victoria remains a constant presence in their lives. Though it all, the Barrios family is continuing on their campaign.
If you or someone you know has any information that could help Santa Ana police catch the killers of Victoria Barrios, please call SAPD atsubmit a tip to OC Crime Stoppers hereor reach out to the Barrios family directly at justiceforvictoriabarrios. Open in Our App. Download it here.
By David Mendez Santa Ana. Victoria Barrios, left, and her sister Valerie in an undated selfie. Courtesy Eva Barrios. Surveillance footage, taken from a private residence, of when Santa Ana police believe Victoria Barrios was shot.