(KRON) — San Mateo County formed a Domestic Violence Task Force following the homicides of five women this year at the hands of abusers, county supervisor Noelia Corzo announced Thursday.
Five homicides this year in San Mateo County have been the result of domestic violence, according to law enforcement officials. The victims were women between ages 27-49:
- Grace Marie Kelly, 49, Daly City
- Yesenia Lopez Hernandez, 41, Redwood City
- Claribel Estrella, 41, San Mateo
- Maria Romero-Molina, 30, South San Francisco
- Frances Lucero, 27, Daly City
All of the victims were allegedly slain by either current or former boyfriends. What could have helped these women before it was too late? The idea for a targeted task force arose during a September 18 special meeting of the San Mateo County Domestic Violence Council.
“These victims deserved safety. Their children deserve their mothers and freedom from violence. Intimate partner violence is a crisis that demands our experts come together, identify the gaps, and take action now. We have the resources to prevent domestic violence and save lives,” Corzo said.
The task force brings together domestic violence survivors and advocates, representatives from law enforcement, public health and education officials, county supervisors, and the judiciary. Task force members include Corzo and Sheriff Christina Corpus. Domestic violence impacts an estimated 10,000 people in the county each year, according to the Domestic Violence Council.
Lives Lost To Domestic Violence in 2023
Frances Lucero, 27, of Daly City
Lucero was shot four times by her boyfriend, Romier Taguiam Narag, when they returned home from a dinner date on March 6, according to prosecutors. The couple got into a heated argument in their home’s driveway when Narag pulled out a gun, prosecutors said. Lucero was trying to run away when she was shot in the legs and torso, the District Attorney’s Office said.
The deadly violence happened in front of Lucero’s children, ages 3 and 4. Narag’s brother’s girlfriend grabbed the children and took them to safety. Narag is facing murder charges, and his preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 13.
Claribel Estrella, 41, of San Mateo
Estrella was stabbed to death inside her San Mateo apartment on July 26. Investigators said Mark Stephen Mechikoff, 39, of Pacifica, recorded the victim’s last moments alive and uploaded the gruesome video onto his Facebook page. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said, “By putting it on Facebook … he felt a certain pride That is the first time I’ve ever heard of anything like that. It’s a horrific crime.”
The victim’s friend, Cherin Knuist, said Estrella briefly dated her accused killer before she broke off the relationship, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported. “He seemed like a bad guy, that’s why she was his ex. She mentioned he was abusive,” Knuist told the Daily Journal.
Grace Kelly, 49, of Daly City
Kelly was shot to death by her domestic partner inside their Daly City home on September 2, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Police were called to the house at 1 a.m. to investigate a domestic violence incident, but officers did not find anything suspicious. At 7 a.m., Kelly was shot multiple times in the garage. Police found the suspected killer a half-mile away and arrested him. Kelly is survived by her two children.
Yesenia Lopez Hernandez, 41, of Redwood City
Hernandez was stabbed to death in front of her 17-year-old daughter by a jealous ex-partner on July 30, according to her family and deputies. Jose Uriarte-Martinez, 44, of Redwood City, was charged with murder. The victim had an active restraining order against her alleged killer, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The victim’s daughter said she was stabbed several times while she attempted to defend her mother.
Dispatchers received a 911 call “from a distressed woman, screaming for help, reporting that someone was attempting to kill her. Deputies responded quickly and upon their arrival, deputies found a man standing outside the residence, visibly covered in blood,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote. “Inside the house, the deputies made a distressing discovery – two female victims with multiple
stab wounds.” The victim’s teenaged daughter survived. Hernandez is also survived by her 5-year-old son.
Maria Romero-Molina, 30, South San Francisco
Molina was in a “tumultuous” relationship with her 35-year-old boyfriend, Eduar Pajoy-Delgado. The couple was arguing on May 15 when Molina was strangled to death, prosecutors said. “Defendant called 911 to report his girlfriend was in their bedroom and not breathing,” prosecutors wrote. Delgado was arrested and charged with murder.
If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence in San Mateo County — which can take many forms, including coercive control, stalking, and verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse — contact CORA’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-300-1080 or find help at corasupport.org.