SAN ANTONIO – Whatever the circumstances of the 151 lives lost to violent crime in San Antonio in 2016, Anne Garza, a former board member of the local chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, said, “That’s a lot of pain in San Antonio.”
Garza said their families are likely feeling what she’s endured since her daughter Lori was murdered in 1989, multiplied 151 times citywide.
“It’s unimaginable that many people were murdered in one year,” Garza said.
The deadly tally, representing a 61 percent increase over 2015, is said to be the highest since 1995.
Garza said there is a much larger human toll behind the numbers.
She said for those who’ve never experienced someone in their family being murdered, “It’s just like somebody just grabbed a piece of your heart. You can’t catch your breath. It’s not just for a little bit. It’s forever.”
Even now, nearly 30 years after her 19-year-old daughter was murdered, Garza said people marvel at how well she’s doing.
She said they don’t realize, “I can go home and hit the wall or scream or whatever, but on the outside you put on a happy face and smile.”
Garza said for at least a decade, she devoted much of her life to helping other families of homicide victims.
She also said she’s determined to show, “You can’t let the killer win.”
In her daughter’s case, Garza said it was reported the young woman who shot Lori in the head at a party was a “skinhead.”
“I can’t imagine why she had so much hate for my daughter,” Garza said. “She was someone so loving and giving and kind.”
Sentenced to 15 years in prison back then, Garza said the young woman escaped the prison in Gatesville only to be caught several hours later. She said her daughter’s killer was convicted again for the escape and a burglary, and is now serving an 85-year sentence.
Garza said her daughter’s violent death took a heavy toll. The grandmother who Lori had promised to see at church the next morning later passed away.
“I’ve never seen my mom in so much pain,” Garza said.
She urges others to seek out help from groups such as Parents of Murdered Children and Other Survivors of Homicide to get the needed support and understanding.
“It’s a pain like no other,” Garza said.