Fresno family hopes for justice in 26-year-old cold case

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thursday marks 26 years since Julio "Jay" Esqueda was shot and killed at a house party in east central Fresno. He was 20 at the time.

Each year on Sept. 23, Esqueda's family gathers at his grave to remember him and to pray for justice. Esqueda's killer has not been caught.

Esqueda's sister, Susan Esqueda Saldana, was at the house party that night.

"I was just like 'They shot my brother. They shot my brother.' That's all I could remember saying. 'They shot my brother, they shot my brother,'" said Saldana.

At that party in 1995, a fight involving her brother broke out. It lead to an unknown person driving up and firing a single shot at Esqueda.

He died shortly after being shot.

"The minute I saw the bullet hole in his chest, my ears started buzzing, everything became silent and I was in this cloud," Saldana remembered.

Their mother kept in close contact with Fresno Police throughout their investigation. She died last October, leaving Saldana to keep her brother's memory alive.

"She's no longer here to call and try to bring awareness, make sure his case isn't forgotten and make sure that it's not just shoved in a folder and made to stay there," said Saldana.

ABC30 asked the Fresno Police Department about Esqueda's case. We were told because there are so many active homicide investigations, there are no detectives available to focus on cold cases.
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