Merced mother still searching for answers 3 years after son's death

Merced Police say witnesses and surveillance revealed that there was a fight that led to the deadly injury.

Alyssa Flores Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
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October 19 marks three years since Juanita Commo has been without her son, 19-year-old Jayzhan Gilmore.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A mother in Merced is still waiting to see justice served on the third anniversary of her son's death.

October 19 marks three years since Juanita Commo has been without her son, 19-year-old Jayzhan Gilmore. Juanita says it was an ordinary Thursday afternoon in 2019 when her son got a phone call, told his mother he'd be right back and stepped outside.

"Like an hour and a half later, the door opened and there were two gentlemen who brought him into the house. And they were like, 'he was jumped,'" she said. "And that I needed to call the ambulance."

Jayzhan was laid down on the couch still conscious enough to speak. Juanita hoped it would just be a concussion, but that wasn't the case. Doctors said her son had severe brain damage.

"By the time they let me in there to see him, there were no more reactions from him," said Juanita.

He died after several days in the hospital.

"I am reliving it all over again. I am still numb from it," said Juanita. "I still have a hard time believing it some days. I try to block it out."

What makes matters worse for Juanita is that nobody has been held accountable.

Merced Police say witnesses and surveillance revealed that there was a fight that led to the deadly injury.

"At one point, he was knocked down during the fight and hit his head on the ground," said Sgt. Kalvin Haygood. "There were several people there. It's our understanding that all the people involved knew who each other was."

He says many of them are active gang members. Including the man, 19 years old at the time, who was identified as the suspect.

"How could someone just do this in broad daylight and get away with it," asked Juanita.

Police say they did recommend the District Attorney's office charge the suspect with manslaughter.

"If that was my son, I would want charges to be filed. I would want some sort of justice," said Sgt. Haywood.

As another year passes without Jayzhan, Juanita says she won't give up hope.

"This can be anybody's son. This can happen again to somebody else if they continue to let these types of people roam the streets," she said.

Action News spoke to the Merced County DA's Office, who said after reviewing the case twice, they still don't have enough evidence to rule out self-defense or even enough evidence to single out a suspect.

But that could change if someone comes forward with new information or evidence about the case.