Los Banos murder victim's family makes a desperate plea for help

MERCED COUNTY, Calif.

The victim comes from a close knit family that moved to Los Banos about five years ago to escape violence in Salinas. Now, his sister wants answers about who killed him, and why.

Flor Bravo is a big sister devastated by the murder of her baby brother. "There's a huge void in our lives that will never be filled," said Flor Bravo. "I know nothing's ever going to bring him back, but he was my little brother, he'll always be my little brother."

Felipe Bravo Junior was the youngest of nine siblings who affectionately called him Filli. He lived in Los Banos and was taking classes at the Merced College campus there. But he disappeared after stopping by his brother's house in the city on New Year's Eve.

"My brother called me New Year's Day, and we thought we were celebrating. And he called me to tell me they had found Filli's car in Moss Landing, and that there was a body in the trunk of the car."

Monterey County Sheriff's deputies later confirmed it was Felipe's body.

Sgt. Terry Kaiser said, "The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound."

Now authorities and family members are searching for answers. Flor says her brother was never involved in gangs or drugs. Instead, he loved going to Oakland A's games and spending time with his 18 nieces and nephews.

"He was always with our family," said Flor Bravo. "We're a tight knit Mexican family who gets together for barbecues and birthday parties and baptisms and the whole 9 yards, and he was always there."

But this year the family gathered to bury Felipe one day before his 24th birthday. Now Flor is pleading for anyone with information about his murder to come forward. She said, "We're just hoping somebody knows, someone may have heard something, anything, as small as it may be to help us understand who did this and why."

The Merced County Sheriff's office is assisting Monterey County investigators with this case. Anyone with information can call 209-385-7472 and ask for Detective Ledford.

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