Family remembers Porterville murder victim, forgetting killer

A Porterville man is headed to prison for killing his ex-wife. He will serve 40 years to life for killing Flor Sanchez.
March 14, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Porterville man is headed to prison for killing his ex-wife. Emigdio Ojeda, 51, will serve 40 years to life for killing Flor Sanchez, just as their divorce was finalized.

Sanchez was an eternal optimist, according to everyone who knew her well. They've vowed to keep her memory alive, but they're already working to forget the man who took her away.

With her blond hair and green eyes, Flor Sanchez stood out in her family. The oldest of six siblings, she also made her mark with her sweetness which she used on her first grandkid, who was born not long before an ex-husband shot and killed her in August 2011, leaving a giant void.

"We're a very close-knit family, and yeah, we feel a piece is missing," said her sister, Linda Romero.

"She was a very, very big piece," said nephew Reuben Romero. "But now it's just gone."

"But we'll go on," said Linda Romero.

Flor's family never missed court over the last two-and-a-half years, making sure her presence was always felt, if only in pictures.

As a judge sent him to prison on Friday, her ex-husband ignored the family. But the lack of respect comes as no surprise.

"I think she looked for the good in everyone, which is probably why she didn't see the bad in...I don't even want to say his name," said Linda Romero.

Flor is still a big presence at CSET in Porterville, where she worked as a career coach. Her photo graces a few desks, and her closest co-worker decorates hers with purple flowers -- the color, a reminder of domestic violence awareness.

And as it is with family, at work, her killer's name is off limits.

"That person was determined to do what they were going to do," said friend and co-worker Delia Migalski.

Migalski says Flor's clients usually came here a little wounded -- after losing a job or getting out of prison, but all Flor could see was their potential to be better.

"That's what she gave every person: the respect and the hope they needed," said Migalski. "And that was my friend Flor."

Tulare County Judge Darryl Ferguson told the family he's also lost someone close to him -- his son -- and he suggested that as long as they keep talking about Flor and what she meant to them, she'll never truly be gone.


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