BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — For most families, Dec. 20th is just another day of the holiday season, but for the Romero family, this date marks their tragedy.
In 2009, just five days before Christmas, they found out their beloved son, and brother, Matthew Anthony Romero, 19, had been shot to death walking along a street in Southeast Bakersfield.
“He was with his older cousins at a barbecue and the last time we talked to him that’s where he was,” Matthew’s mother, Lisa Romero said.
It is unclear, but at some point Romero left his cousin’s house and decided to walk home. That night was densely foggy and made it difficult to see. It was not until the following morning that a neighbor saw Romero’s body next to an elementary school on Monitor Street.
“She noticed that there was a body on the curb so she told her husband to make a U-turn because it was really foggy that morning, as she got closer she was able to make out that it was a young man,” Romero said.
At the time of his death, Romero had finished high school the year prior and was hoping to serve his country in the U.S. Army. With no gang ties or enemies, the young man’s murder case almost immediately went cold. Now, 10 years later, Dec. 20, 2019 marks a decade without justice.
“It changed our life completely, all the plans that we had, the plans that his sisters had… it changed them,” Romero said.
For 10 years the Bakersfield Police Department has been in charge of this case and with new technology available have conducted new techniques.
“Detectives are utilizing every available technique at their disposal to evaluate the evidence; including technology that was not readily available when the case was initially investigated,” Public Information Officer for the Bakersfield Police Department, Sgt. Nathan McCauley said in a statement.
Every year, the family has a vigil and special mass in Romero’s memory. Friday is no exception as the family will be holding a vigil where his body was found at 5:45 p.m.
“It’s been 10 years, we need justice, we need closure so if they do know something please just something,” Romero said. “They can write a note to somebody they don’t even have to say their names or who they are if they’re afraid of retaliation. We need closure, we need justice.”
If you have any information that could help solve this cold case, you are urged to call BPD at 661-325-3537.