Family of Savanah Soto holds vigil to honor her life

Soto, a pregnant 18-year-old, was found dead along with her boyfriend on Tuesday

LEON VALLEY, Texas – About 100 people — Savanah Soto’s family and friends — gathered for a vigil at a North Side park Thursday afternoon.

The family released balloons to honor Soto and her unborn baby, Fabian, at Kenwood Park. Soto’s grandmother, Rachel Soto, and father released doves.

“This is for both of them,” Rachel Soto said. “We should be having a celebration of her and her baby for the New Year, and we’re not doing that. We’re having a vigil instead mourning for her and crying for her. It’s not right.”

They set up a memorial with painted rocks and a tree, which is next to the tree the family planted for her slain brother last year.

“It just breaks my heart,” said Liz Perez, Soto’s past stepmom. “I’m just still trying to soak it all in.”

‘She was so ready to be a mom’

Family members gathered outside her apartment in Leon Valley on Christmas Day to raise awareness about their missing loved one.

“She was so excited to have this baby, the house is already baby-ready. She was so excited she was going to be a mommy,” her mother Gloria Cordova said.

Cordova said there was no reason why she would have intentionally fled.

“It’s all she was talking about since she got pregnant. That was her life,” Wasil said. “She was so ready to be a mom. I think she was meant to be a mom.”

At the vigil, Rachel Soto said she didn’t get the chance to meet her great-grandson but knew he would have been a blessing.

“She was looking so forward to becoming a mom for the first time,” Rachel Soto said. “We didn’t get to meet him, but I would have been very honored to have met my great-grandson.”

Savanah Soto's family watches the balloon release at the vigil Thursday. (KSAT)

Soto, Guerra suffered a gunshot wound

SAPD on Wednesday said the pair each sustained a “gunshot wound” and referred to both as victims. They reported that an unborn child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner provided the cause of death for Guerra as “contact gunshot wound to the head.” The manner of death was reported as a homicide late Thursday.

The ME’s Office positively identified Soto as the other body. Her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and her manner of death was reported as a homicide.

Police still have not said whether a weapon was found in the car.

The vehicle was found about three miles away from Soto’s apartment in the 6000 block of Grissom Road where Soto was last seen at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.

Soto’s younger brother was killed in 2022

Soto’s younger brother, Ethan, was killed in a shooting on May 16, 2022, in the 2000 block of Alston Street on the West Side.

At the time, McManus said Ethan, 15, went down the street to meet someone when an argument ensued, leading to the shooting. Ethan Soto was pronounced dead at the scene.

Victor Nathaneal Rivas, now 19 years old, was charged with murder in the case. An arrest warrant affidavit stated the shooting happened over what appeared to be an act of revenge for a drug robbery.

In an interview with KSAT in June 2022, Cardova said Ethan had a big heart.

“I love him ... I miss him. I would have never let him go,” Cordova said at the time.

About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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