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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 4:29 am | Fair 47º


Father Seeks Justice After 18-Year-Old Son Killed In Santa Maria

Residents walk around Santa Maria neighborhoods to circulate fliers urging people to contact police investigators with information about December homicide

Brayan Molina-Mejia’s father Osmin Mejia, right, was joined by family, friends and strangers to pass out fliers seeking information about the teenager’s Dec. 4 slaying.
Brayan Molina-Mejia’s father Osmin Mejia, right, was joined by family, friends and strangers to pass out fliers seeking information about the teenager’s Dec. 4 slaying. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Eyes welling with tears, Osmin Mejia on Monday sought answers about who killed his 18-year-old son nearly three months ago in Santa Maria.

The father of Brayan Molina-Mejia was joined by family, friends, police and strangers to distribute hundreds of fliers around neighborhoods near West Sonja Lane, South Thornburg Avenue and nearby streets. 

“I miss him very much. He’s all I had. It’s difficult to keep going, but I have to fulfill promises I made to him,” Mejia said of his son.

Molina-Mejia was fatally shot shortly after 9:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in the 500 block of West Sonya Lane. 

He was found with multiple gunshot wounds sitting in his vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It feels good to see that people are supporting us in what’s happened,” Mejia said, speaking in Spanish interpreted by police Sgt. Paul Flores. 

“I expect that this will help and that someone will come forward,” Mejia said, adding the family seeks justice for Brayan.

The father described Molina-Mejia as a good son.

“In truth, he was a good kid, he wasn’t in trouble, he wasn’t into drugs, he didn’t deserve for this to happen to him,” the father said through the interpreter.

Molina-Mejia, an alum of Santa Maria High School, reportedly worked at SizzlinGoji.

Volunteers distribute fliers about Brayan Molina-Mejia’s death in a Santa Maria neighborhood Monday night. Click to view larger
Volunteers distribute fliers about Brayan Molina-Mejia’s death in a Santa Maria neighborhood Monday night. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“He knows somebody knows something, but out of fear they might not be coming forward,” Flores added of Brayan’s father.

“He hopes that this causes them to come forward so that another family doesn’t suffer the same trauma that his family is going through.”

The walk organized by the Santa Maria Police Department replicated another walk that occurred Feb. 22 in a different neighborhood with a similar goal — to encourage anyone with information about the killings of male teenagers to come forward. 

That earlier walk centered on the death of Oscar Daniel Joaquin, a 17-year-old.

They were two of 13 homicides in the city of Santa Maria last year, part of a spike that saw six more homicides in the first month of 2016 in the city.

“There’s really nothing linking them together, it’s just they’re young kids,” police Sgt. Paul Van Meel said, noting the youthful-looking victim remembered with Monday’s gathering..

Police detectives say they want to personalize the homicides in hopes someone with information about the crimes will contact investigators after learning through media coverage of the walk Monday night.

“When they see the family grieving, crying, mourning, I think it humanizes the victim, and I think it adds to their desire to come forward,” Van Meel said.

Last week’s walk attracted support, Van Meel said, declining to say whether it generated leads in the case.

“But it’s an open case, it’s still active and it’s unsolved. Both of them are,” Van Meel said.

Monday’s turnout was smaller than the crowd that showed up a week earlier, but drew some of the same participants including Mayor Alice Patino.

“This is my community too,” the mayor said. “I think we all have to work together to figure out how we’re going to solve this.”

“It’s very sad,” she said, adding she met the family Monday evening. 

Patino said the walks drive home the importance of reporting criminal activity to police and show investigators are working to solve the homicides.

“But we can’t do it without the eyes and ears of the community,” Patino added. 

Anyone with information about Brayan Molinda-Mejia’s homicide is urged to call Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781 or Crime Stoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Click to view larger
(Santa Maria Police Department photo)

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