Fresno widow and photographer team up to help other survivors of violent crime

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno widow is turning her darkest moment into an outreach for other victims and survivors of violent crime.

A local photographer recently took these photos of the Baeza family, and edited in a silhouette of Joseph Baeza who was shot and killed eight months ago. Her pictures are creating special new moments for this mourning family. And now the two women are working together to help others out of their darkest moments.

For months now Baeza's four kids have been forced to move through life without their dad. But they now have new pictures showing, for them, he never really left.

"The pictures, just the way she put him, that's exactly how I would picture him being around me and the children," Veronica Baeza said.

Since her husband was killed Baeza has relied heavily on her faith, her family and strangers who are offering support during a time she never thought she'd face. But the pain is still raw.

"You could be fine, smiling having your day and there goes the smallest thing that reminds you of your loved one," she said. "It's like everything stops, everything freezes."

Joseph Baeza was shot in Central Fresno last September 1st while working on his broken down car. He died in the hospital several days later after his family donated his organs.

"He's there," said Fresno-based photographer Apple Estrada. "Maybe not in the physical, but he's there spiritually."

Estrada decided to help the Baezas create new moments believing the head of their family is still watching over them.

"I did marry Joseph on his deathbed and I did wear a white dress for his funeral," Baeza said. "But my groom was waiting in a casket. But she was able to bring him with me in the white dress behind me as a groom, something I thought I would never have."

Baeza is starting up a non-profit called HALOS to help other families of violent crime. She wants to offer support, whether it's prayers, food or with finances. The same type of support she was given when Joseph was shot. Estrada is even offering her help in fundraising.

"For her and for her family I'd like to donate a portion of our proceeds of our session services to her organization because I think it's a great outreach," she said.

Pictures that are telling a story of survival, perseverance, and now support.

"Just to know that I had that support helped and it still helps now," Baeza said.

Joseph Baeza's homicide remains unsolved. In addition to launching this non-profit, his widow is still offering a $2,000 reward to help find his killer.

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