There is hope despite injustice for victims of crime.

If you or someone you know experienced the loss of a child, then you can relate to this article. I never imagined that I would experience the devastation of losing a child at the hands of a cold-blooded killer. We sacrificed and worked hard to keep our family safe, but still homicide hit our home.

Progressively violent behavior can turn regular people into murderers. We often minimize violence because we want to believe that the offender standing before us would not be capable of murder, or perhaps we prefer not to get involved. But what if, despite the fact that you may be doing everything right and taking precautionary measures of protection, homicide persists to roam around you or your loved ones?

We can seldom anticipate when an altercation will break out but we can identify violent behavior and we can sometimes discern a dangerous situation. Making conscientious decisions to keep your family safe is always good, but sadly, that is no longer enough.

The worst nightmare

I was thrust to the pit of despair and I was forced into survival after my son was killed. Believe me when I tell you that losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare.

I encourage you to become educated about your legal rights regarding home protection, self-defense courses, neighborhood watch programs, and, as controversial as it may be, even alternate protective options. Whichever method of protection you choose, make sure to get sufficient training and that you acquire the appropriate legal permits so that you don’t end up making a bad situation worse.

A killer among us

Most killers have extensive criminal backgrounds and many of them boast about knowing how to manipulate the judicial system, as was the case for the man that killed my son. My son stood up to defend his aunt from an abusive and violent man. My son was a hero, yet the killer was acquitted because he claimed that he blacked out at the price moment that he was stabbing my son. The killer knew the laws and loopholes and he used them to his advantage. He now walks the streets a free man and may be living among us. Acquitted killers have the benefit of a clean slate, without the homicide on their record to identify them as killers. They may be our neighbors, our co-workers, our children’s schoolmates, or even a spouse.


It took me years to recover from my son’s death. There were times when I did not want to live and surviving seemed like an unrealistic notion. After a period of time, I gained enough healing then I felt compelled to step outside my comfort zone to help others suffering a similar loss. I want honor my son’s memory by adopting his courage and his love for life by motivating others to not only survive, but to live life to the fullest. I have made it a mission to turn my misery into a ministry and inspire victims of crime to join a network of survivors advocating on behalf of the helpless.


Sandra Toscano Huerta

Author of the book Tiers of Sorrow

Advocate for victims of crime



Sandra Toscano Huerta

Sandra was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States as a young child. She grew up in Southern California and is the middle child of a family of 11. She and her husband, worked hard to raise their children well. They have four children and two grandchildren. Sandra has extensive experience in marketing and graphic design. She is fluent in Spanish and uses her bilingual skills in both her professional life and within non-profit organizations whenever the need arises. Tragedy devastated her and her family with the homicide of her 21-year old son; which took place in April of 2004, by her sister’s boyfriend, a 2-strike felon and gang member. Adding to their horrific loss, the killer was a fugitive for ten taunting months and when he was finally arrested and tried by a jury, the tragedy mounted by a shocking acquittal. Sandra found herself in a tormented state for months, until confronted with a choice that had to be made in order to survive her son’s death and once again be the mom she needed to be for her surviving children. Shortly after the acquittal; her family moved across the country in fear of their own safety. Through the frustrating and painful experience during the criminal trial, she found herself compelled to help other victims needing a linguistic resource, and determined to help make a difference, she now works as an independent interpreter. She is a Victims' Advocate for North Carolina Gang Investigators' Association (NCGIA) and volunteers with local grief support groups. Through public speaking and with efforts to provide hope and encouragement to bereaved individuals suffering the death of a loved one, Sandra endeavors to bring awareness about the aftermath of violent crimes. In addition, she believes it’s important to be proactive and work to gain ground in the areas of gang and domestic violence prevention.

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