Police ask for help in the murder of Sarah Roberts

January 5, 2012 12:48:57 AM PST
Dozens of Kerman residents washed cars, barbecued and sold baked goods to help pay for the funeral of a young mother of two. Meanwhile, Fresno detectives are running out of clues in the murder of Sarah Roberts.

A single gunshot took the 26-year-old's life as she walked away from a party in Central Fresno New Year's Eve.

Fresno police say based on some physical evidence collected at the scene, Sarah may have been caught in crossfire between two parties.

Her death has prompted an entire community to rally together to help her family bury her.

Even before noon, a steady line of cars pulled in to be washed. Ruben Cardona stopped by just to help out. He went to school with Sarah Roberts and can't believe she was shot to death.

At the Fresno Police Department, Chief Jerry Dyer says officers are working every angle possible. Detectives are facing many challenges. Including this: Sarah was likely lying helpless for close to 20 minutes before her brother found her.

Officers tracked cell phone records of the friend she was talking with at the time, when the phone suddenly went dead.

Chief Dyer said, "We were able to track down the time she was on the phone with her friend, that time is about 19 minutes, by the time we were notified and the time she hung up the phone."

Wednesday friends and loved ones worked to raise thousands of dollars to help her family pay for funeral costs.

Veronica Lujan said, "We're just all here because we love her and we miss her and we just want the best for her family."

Vanessa black washed cars with an especially heavy heart. Sarah helped at a fundraiser for her a few years ago, after she was critically injured in a car crash.

"I have to do this for her because when I was in the hospital, she was washing cars at like 8 months pregnant," said Black. "So I'm trying my hardest to do this for her."

Fresno police have come up with one possibility; Sarah may have been unintentionally hit during a shootout between two groups or people.

Chief Dyer said, "We don't know if the person that shot Sarah Roberts was on foot or if this was some type of a gun battle that occurred between rival gangs."

Officers say they do have reports of a car quickly leaving the scene, but there is no specific car description.

Police say they need witnesses to help provide more clues. If you have any information, please call Fresno police.

Friends and family are holding a Car Wash Fundraiser for Sarah Roberts at the Romeo's Pizza on Tulare and First Street in Fresno from 10am to 4pm.

If you'd like to make a donation for Sara Roberts you can contact any Bank of America -- the account number is 0238875461.

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