Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 7:12 am | Fair 64º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Walk Seeks Witnesses to Santa Maria Teen’s Vicious Killing

Family, friends, strangers distribute fliers in neighborhood where Oscar Daniel Joaquin, 17, was murdered last summer

Pioneer Valley High School seniors Adriana Orrell and Kayla Neal attended Fesler Junior High School and Pioneer Valley High School with Oscar Joaquin, who was brutally murdered last summer. The high school seniors participated in a walk to distribute fliers and encourage witnesses to talk.
Pioneer Valley High School seniors Adriana Orrell and Kayla Neal attended Fesler Junior High School and Pioneer Valley High School with Oscar Joaquin, who was brutally murdered last summer. The high school seniors participated in a walk to distribute fliers and encourage witnesses to talk. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

As a full moon rose in the sky Monday night, Oscar Daniel Joaquin's family and friends joined with police and strangers to blanket a Santa Maria neighborhood with fliers, seeking information about the the teen's vicious killing last summer. 

“I’m begging people, as Oscar’s mom, to find it in their hearts to share what they know and tell the truth about what happened with Oscar so that we can hold his killers accountable,” his mother, Rebekah Spicuglia, told Noozhawk.

In addition to his mom, those tracing the final steps of the 17-year-old included his father, Federico Joaquin, other relatives, school officials, city leaders and former classmates, all helping to put fliers on vehicle windshields, utility poles, doorsteps and into resident’s hands. 

“Basically, I want to paper every car, every door, every house, every light pole, every fence post,” Sgt. Paul Van Meel of the Santa Maria Police Department told participants.

Starting and ending at Russell Park, Monday night's walk along the route Oscar took prior to his death involved distributing fliers in English and Spanish, to encourage people to come forward with information about the homicide. 

It’s the same message delivered by Oscar’s mother as participants paused at the corner of Western Avenue and Barrett Street — the site of the fatal attack — to remember Oscar.

“We’re here to beg people to say what they know, to share what’s in their hearts and to be brave and speak the truth about what happened to Oscar,” she said before Oscar’s father spoke to the crowd in Spanish. 

“We’re standing here as a community, all together, all ages and races, and hoping that there will be an end to the violence,” Spicuglia added. 

Since his death July 28, Oscar’s loved ones have experienced the start of a new school year, their first holiday season, and what would would have been his 18th birthday last month — all without Oscar. 

“He never had a driver’s license. He didn’t graduate from high school. He didn’t get to enjoy all the things that we would have wanted for him,” Spicuglia said shortly after the walk began. “For ourselves, we’re mourning every single day. It’s impossible to imagine life without him.”

Fliers urging people to come forward with information about last year’s slaying of Oscar Daniel Joaquin were handed out Monday evening during a walk in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
Fliers urging people to come forward with information about last year’s slaying of Oscar Daniel Joaquin were handed out Monday evening during a walk in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“He was really loved by everyone,” his mother added. “Oscar’s my baby. He was only a child. He was my everything and I just beg people to come forward with that they know.”

No one has been arrested for the death of Oscar, who was killed at the intersection of Western Avenue and Barrett Street at 10:02 p.m. during an attack om which he was shot and slashed with sharp knife-like instruments, including a machete, police said.

“It was a very brutal and senseless act,” said Van Meel, adding he believes it is a solvable case.

“In all likelihood, I really feel convinced there’s people here that saw things, that have information that could help solve it, and I’m hoping that this maybe is enough to push them over the edge to come forward and talk to us,” Van Meel said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the  Police Department at 805.928.3781 or Crime Stoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

Since Oscar slaying, police have been thwarted by a lack of cooperative witnesses, leaving his family without answers.

“Oscar loved his community and he was very loved in return. Right now, we’re seeking answers,” Spicuglia said. “We’re rallying as a community because Oscar’s life is not the only one that has been lost. He’s one of many.”

“Our youth deserve love and safety, and we’re uniting for that purpose.”

Oscar’s death marked the first of three 17-year-olds boys killed in the latter part of 2015, with a 14-year-old fatally stabbed January. 

A number of other homicides also occurred in the city, making 19 for 2015 and so far in 2016.

“We’re here as a community to be part of the solution,” Spicuglia said. “My heart goes out to all the families who have lost over the last several months especially. I know Oscar would be devoted to see what is going on right now.

Police said the walk was aimed at bringing the homicide back into the spotlight, as those who loved Oscar and total strangers traveled the same route as Oscar in hopes of gather information about his killing.

Participants came from throughout the city, with the event showing solidarity for those who live in the neighborhood, Van Meel said. 

“This individual was part of the community. The witnesses are part of the community. It’s our job to protect, support and stand by each other,” Van Meel added.

Participants in Monday’s walk exceeded 100 people, and also included representatives of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, Victory Outreach and the Santa Maria police traffic officers.

Others were strangers, moved by the senseless violence to show up.

“It’s such a sad situation,” said a Santa Maria resident who declined to give her name. 

Saying she has lived in the community since 1973 and previously worked with at-risk youth, the resident felt strongly about attending the walk.

“I’m here for the parents because they need that support,” she added. “They need to know that the community cares.”

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.

Oscar Joaquin’s parents, Rebekah Spicuglia and Federico Joaquin, hold pictures of their son while standing near the site of his brutal attack last summer in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
Oscar Joaquin’s parents, Rebekah Spicuglia and Federico Joaquin, hold pictures of their son while standing near the site of his brutal attack last summer in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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