SAN ANTONIO – It's a devastating thing no one wants to have in common -- being the parents of murdered children.
A group of local parents met Monday night for the yearly vigil to remember those they've lost. Some of those cases have been solved, while others are still open.
Every picture placed above flickering candles was of someone's child. For some parents the heartbreak is new.
"My son Isaac Orozco, he was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting July 28, 2016, and his case is still unsolved so I'm pleading for anyone to come forward. My son deserves justice," said Janie Esparza.
Margie Salinas has been waiting 18 years for that justice for her daughter Dedra, and she just got it three weeks ago.
"Now knowing that most likely, most likely it was the husband that deprived her of her life, it's hard," Salinas said.
Dedra disappeared in 1999 and her body was found under a concrete slab in the couple's backyard in 2006. Last month, her husband, Roy Hernandez, was arrested and charged with her murder.
"It's hard to handle because he was family too," Salinas said.
This year specifically has been tough for the entire community. Several very young children were killed by gun violence.
De-Earlvion Whitley, 4, was killed in a gang-related drive-by shooting July 19.
Rene Blancas, 3, was shot in his family's car November 4.
Delilah Hernandez, 10, was killed in what police call a gang-related drive-by shooting on Thanksgiving morning.
Every death, no matter how long ago, has brought these grieving parents together. They all attend meetings with the Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) organization. Each December they hold a vigil where every parent can speak about their child and pay tribute to him or her.
"I come every month and it’s been very helpful for me. Kinda keeps me sane a little bit. Everybody here, we’re all in the same situation so we help each other, we cry together. They’re the only ones that understand what we’re going through," Esparza said.
To parents with unsolved cases, like Esparza's son's, Salinas tries to offer comfort.
"Have faith in the system," Salinas said. "The system works. It takes time but it works."
The support has been a needed relief from the world of pain these parents live in. The ability to speak openly and relate to others continues to show them a beacon of hope.
Anyone who thinks he or she could benefit from the Parents of Murdered Children can visit the website.