Xiomara Jonsales Fernandez
June 12, 2003 - April 28, 2012

A woman on her way to donate blood was horrified when she found two bodies:

"They were both face down. There was a lot of blood. There was a lot of blood by him,
there was blood on her from the backside which I could see, which was not good. And
then I'm sitting her and I went to see if she was breathing or not and she wasn't"
Nancy Eomurian

Nancy had found the bodies of Jacinto Zuniga Trujillo, who was 31 years old at that time and his stepdaughter, Xiomara Jonsales Fernandez, who was only  nine years old when she died. Nancy told reporters that she was having a very hard time getting the image of Xiomara, covered in blood, out of her mind and that it made her think about her granddaughters to see someone so small having been killed this way.

Jacinto was said to have killed Xiomara because he had been sexually abusing her and he didn't want anyone to find out. Jacinto and Xiomara were found in the parking lot of Los Altos United Methodist Church where he had taken her, stabbed her several times and then apparently tried to kill himself the same way, he was not successful. Xiomara was pronounced dead on the scene and Jacinto was taken to the hospital where he stayed until he was released into the custody of the Police and arrested for murder. Jacinto was charged, but did not enter a plea he only spoke to waive time for his arraignment since the Public Defender's Office would need to find a special counsel for this case because Jacinto was charged with capital murder and could possibly be facing the death penalty. Included with the charge of capital murder were five counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child under the age of ten, the special circumstance comes from the fact that Xiomara was a witness to the crime.

Xiomara's mother, Graciela Fernandez told Police that while Jacinto was not the biological father of Xiomara, he had been the one to raise her for most of her life. Graciela also said that Jacinto had never done anything to  her or to any of the girls that she knew about, but still she was upset about what happened:

"I don't want to see him. I never want to speak to him again"

While Jacinto had never showed any signs of being violent in the past, family members did say that he had recently begun to act crazy and that he had started to use drugs. One of Xiomara's sisters spoke:

"It's gonna be her birthday on June 12, she was gonna turn ten
she didn't get the chance to"
Sulma Tovar - Sister



In may of 2012, Jacinto plead not guilty to charges of murder as he appeared in court, very calm and speaking softly, though only speaking when it was necessary. Jacinto was taken back to the jail and held without bail.

Also in May, family, friends and strangers gathered in the chapel at All Souls Cemetery to say good bye to Xiomara. The chapel was filled with over 500 people who came to pay their respects to a child who was said to have been bright and bubbly and always talking when in her classroom at school. Graciela spoke and said that while her heart ached so much for her daughter, she needed to remain strong for her other children and that he faith in God and knowing that Xiomara was with Him, was helping through everything, she added that she has memories to keep her going:

"I have a place in my heart for all of the cute faces that Xiomara has given me"

The Pastor spoke of how people needed to keep the families in their prayers and that anyone who loves this little girl was suffering. Xiomara was laying in a white casket trimmed in rose and gold accents with white gauze and a lace veil, wearing a white dress with white flowers in her hair, one woman who attended the funeral said that she looked like an Angel. Pink flowers in the shape of a heart with a pictures of Xiomara in the middle, could be seen as well as flowers of many different colors.

A car wash had been held in order to raise money for Xiomara's funeral and help to give some money to Graciela for the time she had taken off of work:

"She's doing better every day"
Alma Tabares - Daughter

Alma was mostly worried about her seven year old sister since she and Xiomara had been very close, even attending the same school and walking home together. The seven year old was said to have waited by the classroom of Xiomara even after she died, for her to come out and walk home with her and was said to have not even asked about her father, Xiomara's stepfather. It was reported that all of the children loved Jacinto very much and that none of them knew about the abuse Xiomara had suffered at his hand until after she died:

"I don't know how to explain to to the seven year old. How do you tell her that her dad
is the one who took her best friend"
Alma Tabares




OBITUARY:

This precious little Angel's obituary was written in Spanish and I am not able to read it or find a translation. I like to trust that nothing "bad" would be put into an obituary, however, since I can't read it and have no idea what it says, I would not be comfortable putting it here. The information about her service was written in English and is listed below:

Service Information:

Visitation: May 10, 2012 - 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

All Souls Mortuary Chapel
4400 Cherry Ave.
Long Beach, CA. 90807
562-424-8601

Funeral Service:

May 11, 2012 - 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
All Souls Mortuary Chapel
4400 Cherry Ave.
Long Beach, CA. 90807
562-424-8601

I have searched for trial information and am unable to find it. I suspect it's because if they are going for the death penalty, those cases seem to take longer.

Thank you Cat, for sending me this story along with all of the others and allowing me to memorialize this beautiful Angel.

UPDATE: March 5, 2015

Looking for updates in this story today, I was unable to find out if this man has gone to court yet. I was able to find the following information about a memorial for this little Angel.

In February of 2014 what began with fresh flowers and ended with Graciela planting a vine of Ivy that grew around a wrought iron wreath, became a source of debate. Graciela arrived one day to find that strangers had added to the memorial she wanted to be a permanent memorial for her daughter. Someone had outlined the patch of dirt with bricks and filled it in with wood chips, a bench was added and a birdbath placed as well. Graciela was overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers.



It was short lived joy though because the city of Long Beach said that the memorial had to be removed from the place where Graciela had been visiting to console herself over the loss of her daughter, for the past past two years. The memorial sits on public property according to the city and it has to come down.

It is a common practice for people to start memorials for people who have died, flowers, candles, toys and other objects arrive and the memorial lives on as long as people keep adding to it, most of these types of memorials fade away over time, as people move on. The memorial for Xionmara did not fade away and Graciela shows up every week to cry, pray, read her bible, meditate and think of her daughter. The memorial for Xionmara became a place where Graciela would eventually find peace:

"I want Xionmara's memory to live in the spot where she left this Earth.
This is where I've come to terms with what happened. Being able to
come here has given me consolation and maintains my strength"



Deputy City Manage Tom Modica said that they were trying to work with Graciela to find a permanent place to memorialize Xionmara, maybe planting a tree in a park or moving the memorial to a private place:

"We absolutely understand the family's grief and the desire to have a
place to remember their daughter. However, there are laws about
maintaining the public right of way for public services. We have a
responsibility to fulfill the law and apply it equally now that we have
been made aware of the memorial through a resident complaint. As
a solution, we have been working to locate the memorial in the Church
parking lot, closer to where the incident occurred. Long Beach has
promised to beautify the public area by planting trees. We beleive
this solution will allow for a memorial, while beautifying the area
and maintaining the use of public right of way for public purposes.
This solution should be in place within the next few weeks"

Reports said that for the most part, people were in support of leaving the memorial up and there had only been one complaint filed. Members of the Los Altos United Methodist Church have come to love the visits that Graciela makes and want to help:

"I think there's a real sensitivity of, what can we do to provide a place
of memory and recovery"
Pastor Mark Ulrickson

Pastor Ulrickson said that there have been conversations about what can be done to help Graciela with the memorial and those discussions have included allowing the memorial to be moved onto the church property:

"But none of those really speaks to the power of place"

Apparently, the roadside memorial has caused people to stop, take a look and learn what it represents. One member of the community had been curious for a long time and finally stopped. She wrote Xionmara's name on her hand and when she returned home, she read the story online and began to cry:

"If the memorial would have been just in some random park, maybe I never
would have seen it, never would have stopped. The fact that the murder
happened right here has a little more meaning. The least anybody could do
would be to honor Xionmara by letting her family have a spot to go where
this horrible tragedy took place and maybe make new memoris"

Maleea Ehuan

Maleea said she had plans to take her children there to add to the ribbons there were already present on the fence. Graciela showed up to water the plants there and to pull weeds:

"My daughter died here. I don't want to go to another place.
She left this world right here"



"I think it helps her because it reminds her about her. If I forget
about her, then that's forgetting all the bad things that happened.
When I was there, I felt sad, but at the same time I felt like she
would come back one day, somehow"
Perla - Xionmara's sister

"We thought whoever did this was really nice because they were
seeing my mom going every week and I guess that's how they
decided to put it there"
Alma - Xionmara's sister

Site Creators Note: This is a tough one for me. I can see myself doing the same thing for my child, though he's 33 years old, if he died in a certain place, I would want a memorial for him in THAT place. I see crosses along the roads in our town, along highways across the United States. Those crosses represent someone who has died on that road or highway. Those crosses are out of the way, they don't intrude on the public walkways, they don't pose a threat at all. I am trying to get a sense of exactly how this memorial is causing a problem since it seems to be planted in dirt and not on a sidewalk. The only thing I can think of is maybe traffic stopping to see what it is all about might be a problem, but that could be solved with a no parking sign, maybe?

From the looks of the picture, there is PLENTY of room for people to walk by and not be harmed in ANY way by the memorial. I wish that the person making the complaint would have to face Graciela and let her know how the memorial is hurting THEM personally and what impact it has had on THEIR life. I just imagine someone like the wicked witch in the movie "The Wizard Of Oz", riding her bike all over town seeing who she can make miserable on any given day, so cranky and disapproving of everything and wanting to make the lives of others just as miserable as hers. I don't know it was a woman, but even if it was a man who complained, I picture him the same way!

I understand that laws and city ordinances are put into place to protect the public. I DON'T understand the mind of someone who could make such a complaint and ruin something that only improved the look of a barren area that had no plants and nothing to brighten it up. I understand that it could become a problem if more people wanted to put similar memorials up for their loved ones, in the exact spot that they died in. I am not saying the city should change their laws to accommodate each individual case, there just doesn't seem to be a solution to this problem that could make everyone happy.
Maybe the city could allow a sign of some kind or a plaque? I hope whatever they decide, it won't be too traumatic for this family who has been through enough.

This page was created on December 16, 2014
Death occurred in the state of California

If you do not like what you see printed on this page, please see my DISCLAIMER statement. THANK YOU!





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