BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
There are currently hundreds of unsolved murders in the county leaving victim’s families with unanswered questions.
For Vera Garay, this month marks four years since her 33-year-old son Norberto Gutierrez was found brutally murdered in his Palm St. apartment.
“He and I had closeness,” said Garay.
The mother-son bond is what Garay said she misses the most.
"I think about him every single day,” said Garay. “In the morning when I wake up, I think about what happened, every day and I have to just get up and move on."
Gutierrez’s father and sister found him unresponsive in his bathroom on March 14, 2009. At first they thought it was an accident and he fell because Gutierrez was disabled after suffering a brain injury at work.
“He had a scar from one end to the other,” said Gutierrez’s sister, Melissa Jensen.
So when his family found out he had been murdered, they were shocked.
“For someone to go in and do that to someone who obviously had a disability, it was like what,” said Jensen.
After Gutierrez’s murder the family returned to the neighborhood to plead for the community’s help. Now four years later, Garay said she feels like her son’s case has been forgotten about.
“There are still things that we have questions about,” Garay said. “We don’t have those answers and I still think there are leads to be looked into.”
23ABC brought Garay’s concerns to Sgt. Jason Townsend of the Bakersfield Police Department and asked what it takes to get a cold case reopened?
"If we get a new lead, DNA maybe comes back, a new witness comes forward or new physical evidence surfaces then we can reopen a case anytime,” said Townsend. “Or if a family member call asking what happened to my case.”
Following 23ABC’s meeting with police, Gutierrez’s family said they have been in contact with detectives.
Townsend told 23ABC that Gutierrez’s case has been reopened but they cannot comment on the case since it could compromise the investigation.
"I won't give up because I promised my son,” said Garay.
The Secret Witness Program is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Gutierrez’s case. If you have any information you can call the tip line at (661) 322-4040. You can remain anonymous.