BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s been three months since a young woman was stabbed to death in east Bakersfield. Today, family members say they want two things: her killer behind bars, and her generous spirit remembered.
21 year old Hayley O’Connor smiles when she talks about her big sister Angelina Betz.
Angelina was the kind of person who struck up conversations with strangers. She adored her niece. She sang even though she couldn’t sing. O’Connor repeats words like funny, caring, outgoing.
Betz’s life was cut short May 21st, at the intersection of Mt Vernon and Niles, but it wasn’t from a car accident as initially presumed.
Investigators found the 26 year old had actually been stabbed in some sort of fight in a neighborhood across from Martin Luther King Jr Park, two miles away. A friend tried to rush her to the hospital, but, possibly under the influence, the driver ran a red light, hitting two other cars. Angelina died at the scene.
Bakersfield Police later identified 19 year old Jennifer Maldonado as their main suspect, but she has been on the run since.
Months later, O’Connor says she still isn’t completely sure how the two may have known each other, or what exactly transpired that night.
In the months since the killing, family and friends have done what they can to keep her selfless spirit alive. Betz coworkers recently created this memorial at the hotel where she worked. Other friends used the star registry program to name one “Lina’s Light” the same name O’Connor now uses as the title for her charity, which gives out backpacks of supplies to the unhoused and others in need. O’Connor hopes that by sharing the memories of her sister and promoting Lina’s light, others will be inspired to do acts of kindness themselves.