Things That Matter

California Groomed Killed At His Own Wedding By Alleged Party Crashers

A Chino, California groom was beaten to death by two uninvited men that crashed his wedding reception. Joe Melgoza was attending his reception which started Saturday evening and went on until Sunday morning. The party was held in his sister’s backyard.

When two wedding crashers showed up, 30-year-old Melgoza tried to fight them off. The brawl would result in Melgoza’s death from a blunt force head trauma, according to NBC News. Now his family is mourning during what should have been a wonderful time in Melgoza’s life.

Two strangers crash Melgoza’s wedding.

Police identified the two men as brothers Rony and Josue Castañeda Ramirez. They didn’t know the groom but lived in the neighborhood. There was some confusion at first because it was a wedding reception with two massive families. 

Because it was such a big party and it was two big families, we just assumed that somebody knew them because they were right there among us,” Velasquez told Oxygen.com.

The brothers were eventually asked to leave and they did. But they came back to the reception armed with bats. 

“Those cowards came back with bats. They were in the alley and it was dark… My brother tried to go get them. They pulled him into the house and they killed him,” Andy Velasquez, Melgoza’s brother, told NBC. 

The groom’s family believes he was just trying to protect his family from the invaders when he and his brother-in-law chased them into a dark alley. 

“They were in the alley and it was dark,” Velasquez told NBC. “My brother tried to go get them.”

Police responded to a fight at 2:20 AM on Sunday morning, according to CBS News. When they arrived, officers found a huge crowd and the two alleged attackers. 

When police heard of another victim that was missing, authorities discovered Melgoza’s body in the backyard of a different home. 

The victim, later identified as 30-year-old Joe Steven Melgoza, suffered blunt force trauma to his head. Officers began life-saving efforts, and Melgoza was transported to Chino Valley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries,” the Chino police said in a statement. 

The brothers have been arrested by law enforcement.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of murder and are being held without bail. According to Oxygen, who reviewed the criminal complaint, they both have been charged with first-degree murder and two accounts of assault with a deadly weapon.

“They don’t have any relationship to the victim or anybody else at the reception,” Sgt. Dustin Tomicic told Oxygen.com.

Melgoza leaves behind his siblings, widow, and 11-year-old daughter. Melgoza had full custody of his daughter who will now be cared for by her grandmother and siblings. 

“You could see it in his face, how happy he was,” his widow said.  “Just the way he looked at me all day.”

Velasquez told Oxygen that he was heartbroken he didn’t get to say goodbye to Melgoza, his last words to his brother were, “You know I got you forever, bro, you know this.” The family has started a GoFundMe page for the father’s funeral services.

“He always had a way to make you smile. He was there for you at any time to give a helping hand. He was taken from us in such a tragic and horrific way,” Melgoza’s cousin Alice Alvarez wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He leaves behind his daughter Lilly who will be in good hands with Joe’s family. We are asking for your support in this time for Joe’s services and for his little girl Lilly. Isela, Joe’s mom is devastated, heartbroken and is having a hard time processing it all.” 

Strangers chip in to support Melgoza’s family.

The fundraiser has surpassed its $20,000 goal with $30,973 from 817 donors thus far. It’s been shared over 3.3 thousand times. 

I do not know Mr. Melgoza or his family, but I read his story and I want to help. I’m so sorry for this terrible tragedy. I hope this small donation helps. He seems like a wonderful father and husband. My sincerest condolences to the family,” one donor named Pat Geil said on the GoFundMe page. 

Melgoza started dating his widow Esther Bustamente just a year before the wedding, but they had known each other for a decade. The family told Oxygen the wedding was beautiful up until the tragic end. 

“He showed me how to be a man, how to be a father, how to work hard, how to be responsible. I don’t know what I’m going to do without my brother. He was there for me, always. He guided me through everything,” Velasquez said.

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

Rodrigo Abd / Getty Images

Apart from combating the Coronavirus, Peru has suffered a heartbreaking increase in the number of missing women and girls. Just as hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence, the Coronavirus hit and those same marches have had to be put on hold.

Now, as millions of women are forced to stay at home under strict lockdown orders, they’re spending more time with potentially abusive partners or family members. Many experts believe this combination of circumstances is leading to an increase in domestic violence as hundreds of women in Peru have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic.

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing since the start of the lockdown.

In Peru, hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and many are feared dead since lockdown orders were put into place to help contain the spread of Covid-19. According to authorities (including Peru’s women’s ministry), at least 1,2000 women and girls have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic – a much higher figure than during non-Coronavirus months.

“The figures are really quite alarming,” Isabel Ortiz, a top women’s rights official, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. “We know the numbers of women and girls who have disappeared, but we don’t have detailed information about how many have been found,” she said. “We don’t have proper and up-to-date records.”

Ortiz is pushing the government to start keeping records so that authorities can track those who go missing – whether they are found alive or dead and whether they are victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence or femicide.

The women’s ministry said the government was working to eradicate violence against women and had increased funding this year for gender-based violence prevention programs.

Like many Latin American countries, Peru has long suffered from reports of domestic violence.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

The Andean nation home to 33 million people has long had a domestic violence problem, but the home confinement measures because of the pandemic has made the situation worse, said Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office, an independent body that monitors Peru’s human rights.

Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day, but since the lockdown, that number has surged to eight a day. Countries worldwide have reported increases in domestic violence under coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the United Nations to call for urgent government action.

According to the UN, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide, defined as the gender-motivated killing of women. Almost 20 million women and girls a year are estimated to endure sexual and physical violence in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean are known for high rates of femicide and violence against women, driven by a macho culture and social norms that dictate women’s roles, Ortiz said. She added, “Violence against women exists because of the many patriarchal patterns that exist in our society.”

“There are many stereotypes about the role of women that set how their behaviour should be, and when these are not adhered to, violence is used against women,” she said.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of women throughout Latin America, including Peru, were staging mass street demonstrations demanding that their governments should act against gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the country is also struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

Despite implementing one of the world’s longest running stay-at-home orders, Peru has become one of the hardest hit countries. As of August 11, Peru has confirmed more than 483,000 cases of Coronavirus and 21,276 people have died.

Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients and healthcare workers have protested against a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Golden State Killer Confesses To Rape And Murder, After Families Have Been Waiting For Decades

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Golden State Killer Confesses To Rape And Murder, After Families Have Been Waiting For Decades

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although his crime spree took place more than thirty years ago, the Golden State Killer has only recently been held accountable for the unspeakable crimes he committed up and down the state of California.

Thanks to advancements in DNA testing, police found a suspect and this week the Golden State Killer confessed to dozens of crimes committed from Sacramento to San Diego.

His victim’s families have celebrated the move as a first step on the path towards justice for their loved ones.

One of California’s most prolific killers has pleased guilty to his crimes and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Golden State Killer terrorized California for more than a decade, before his trail went cold. After being arrested in 2018 thanks to advancements in DNA testing, Joseph DeAngelo was charged with several crimes (including burglaries and murders) and named as the Golden State Killer.

Since his arrest, police have been building a case against him and this week charged him with additional crimes, for which he has pled guilty to on all counts. He pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances – including murder committed during burglaries and rapes -– as well as 13 counts of kidnapping, and he acknowledged more than 50 rapes he was not charged for because of California’s statute of limitations.

DeAngelo will be sentenced in August, and will kiley serve 11 consevutive life terms without the possibility of parole. According to Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, he agreed to plead guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty.

With his guilty plea, victim’s families will finally be able to face him in court and seek justice.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Some of the Golden State Killer’s victims, were raped or murdered as far back as 1974. So their families have been waiting for justice for decades.

After dozens of false leads and dead ends, the case was followed up on after advancements in DNA. And now, the Golden State Killer has been identified and charged with the crimes that have left dozens of families in untold pain.

The plea means that his victims can give their impact statements starting August 17 — much quicker than if he had gone to trial in a prosecution that the six district attorneys involved said might have taken as long as a decade.

“Today’s court proceeding brings us one step closer to ending the horrific saga of Joseph DeAngelo and his decades long crime spree,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said Monday in a news release. “In this case justice did not move swiftly, it was a long time coming. However, our victims remained steadfast and brave throughout this entire process.”

The Golden State Killer had a long crime spree and dozens of victims.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although DeAngelo was just arrested in 2018, his crimes date back to 1974. He has admitted to burglaries, rapes, and murders ranging from northern to Southern California. He earned nicknames such as the Visalia Ransacker, the Diamond Knot Killer, the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist. Officials only later realized the crimes were all the work of one man.

The former police officer, Vietnam War veteran and auto mechanic was arrested in April 2018 after police tracked him down by matching his DNA with a genealogy website.

Investigators created a family tree dating back to the 1800s in order to identify him as a suspect. Detectives followed him and collected a piece of rubbish he had thrown away, finding the same DNA recovered from several crime scenes.

Now, the Golden State Killer’s gripping crime story will be told in a six-part HBO series.

Just one day before DeAngelo pled guilty to all charges, HBO debuted a miniseries detailing his crimes and the victim’s stories. The series, based on author and researcher Michelle McNamara‘s own investigation, combines archives of footage and police files, as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and relatives of DeAngelo.

McNamara remained focused on the victims of the crimes throughout her process, and she earned the right to “walk off with 37 boxes of Golden State Killer evidence, according to Assistant Orange County Public Defender Scott Sanders.

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