San Bernardino police chief Robert Handy and San Bernardino County district attorney Mike Ramos visited a Colton cemetery Thursday to honor victims of domestic abuse.
Ramos and Handy gathered at Hermosa Gardens Cemetery alongside the relatives of people injured or killed by abusive spouses, parents or caregivers. October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"I said, 'Let’s go out to share with the world just what happens in these types of cases and how serious they can be,'" Ramos said.
He said his office filed over 3,000 misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases last year. Nine ended in murder.
Ramos stood at the foot of the unmarked grave for Tania Villalobos, a victim of deadly domestic violence two years ago. Ramos noted the girl was only 17 when she died.
"This is real," he said. "I stand before her, she doesn't even have a gravestone. We're gonna change that. We need to remember her."
Ramos promised Villalobos' parents, who stood nearby, that the county would pay for a marker for their daughter’s grave.
The District Attorney's office has partnered with the San Bernardino Police Department and the Mexican Consulate of San Bernardino to produce a 15-minute documentary that focuses attention on the problem of domestic violence – specifically among Latinos.
In one scene, domestic abuse survivor Bertha Lozada explained that she didn't want to leave her husband because "marriage is supposed to be for a lifetime."
Lozada is now the president of the San Bernardino support organization Mujeres de Valor. Lozada said in Latino families, it’s taboo to fail at marriage.
"It’s supposed to be 'til death do us part," she said.
In some cases, that’s precisely what happens.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's website includes links to the film as well as resources for victims of domestic violence.