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Candlelight Vigil remembers slain Latina, seeks answers


By La Prensa Staff


Latinos and other Old South End residents gathered Monday evening, Dec. 16, 2019 outside Taquería La Autentica Michoacana, 1218 Broadway, Toledo, to remember Emilia “Janeth” Silgüero, co-owner of the restaurant and the victim of an unsolved homicide 4 months ago.


The candlelight vigil, held on the four-month anniversary of her death, drew about 60 people who loved and admired a woman many called quiet and generous.


“It’s been very, very difficult, particularly for the kids, for the parents and everybody,” said her longtime partner Lorenzo Morales, who stated Ms. Silgüero’s father moved to Kentucky shortly after her gruesome murder, partly out of grief for losing his daughter.


Latinos from up and down the Broadway Corridor and elsewhere attended the vigil, including Taylor Balderas Burciaga, executive director of the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, and Baldemar Velásquez, president and founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC).


“Definitely here to support the family. Janeth was a co-worker and a neighbor,” said Anita Sánchez-Serda, events coordinator at the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center across the street from the restaurant. “Our businesses almost side-by-side, we spent at least 10-15 minutes every day with her. We just want to show the family that we’re here to support them during this very, very difficult time and we want them to know we’re constantly thinking about them.”


“It has been very hard for me to set foot here. Janeth and I were very close. I have helped out through all their businesses and ventures,” said María González through tears. “This is the first time I have stepped into the restaurant (since her murder). I want to support the family. I want to support Lorenzo and I want justice for Janeth for sure. It’s so hard to step into the restaurant and not see her here.”


“This is awesome that the community steps up to let him know that he’s not alone,” said Usevio “Chevo” Torres, president of Latins United. “We’ll move forward from this.”


Toledo police have arrested no suspects nor released a motive in her violent death, which occurred at her home in the 200 block of Field Ave. last August, which is also near the restaurant. According to authorities, a family member discovered her body. The relative went to check on Ms. Silgüero, 36, after she never responded to text messages. Just weeks earlier, the family had celebrated happier times, her daughter Monica’s quinceañera.


The wife and mother of three, according to an autopsy, had been shot in the back and stabbed multiple times in her chest and head. Ms. Silgüero, who was also known as Emilia Guerrero, was originally from Heroica Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.



The crowd gathered on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, some people clutching white and red balloons, while others held Styrofoam cups with a lit candle inside. They huddled in the cold while pastors from Ms. Silgüero’s church offered words of comfort. She regularly attended a Spanish-speaking Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sylvania.


“We think the family needs an answer and we are here to support them,” said Pastor Albert Pérez. “As a people, we believe in justice and that’s why we are here. I offer a prayer that the family and we can get answers.”


“We are here today, not just to forgive those who have done harm to the family, but they deserve justice. The candle we’re holding up today is a light of Janeth and her spirit and what she did for everybody here in the community,” said Olga Martínez, who works at the restaurant and counted Ms. Silgüero as a close friend. “It’s important that we all have faith, that we don’t give up, and that we never forget—that we continue lighting a candle in her honor until the family gets answers. This is about humanity.”


The family decided to hold the vigil to put pressure on police for answers and to ensure her death is not forgotten. Morales stated others in the Latino community encouraged him to take such action to help mobilize and organize the community to seek answers. The couple had been together for more than a decade.


“We can’t find closure until the police say what happened,” said Morales.


“With the tragic passing of Janeth, we stand here in solidarity with Lorenzo. We hope the authorities hear the clamor and the voice of our Hispanic community to bring some justice, some solution to this tragic event,” said Senior Pastor Leonardo Muñoz. “We are committed to finding the people who committed this premeditated and obviously purposeful tragic incident.”


“I think many of us in the community have gone through those losses. This being as tragic as it is, it’s one step closer,” said Ms. Sánchez-Serda. “But not having that (closure) leaves such open wounds for the children and the family.”


“We are just baffled and just don’t understand what happened,” said Ms. González. “Who could have done this to Janeth? Such a wonderful woman, hard worker, dedicated. It’s just hard to believe this happened to her, of anybody. I just want to keep pressure on the investigation—the police, the detectives. I want anyone who knows anything, to just, please call.”


Torres stated he drove Morales to the Scott Park District police station to file a report on threatening phone calls being made at the restaurant about two months before Ms. Silgüero’s murder. According to Torres, the calls were coming from Mexico. But he was unsure if those threats had anything to do with Ms. Silgüero’s murder.


“He was worried about his workers, that they were going to come here and do something to his workers,” recalled Torres.


Ms. Silgüero’s three children did not attend the vigil. But they will spend their first Christmas without their mother, nearly everyone feeling the weight of that emotional burden.


“I just can’t even imagine. I’ve had life experiences myself in the past, but to know how challenging it is as each year goes by, there’s not much we can do other than to let them know we’re here to support them,” said Ms. Sánchez-Serda.


“It’s going to be very difficult. These kids have had their lives turned upside down—and this is going to be their first Christmas without their mom? I know her family is very close to them, but they still have to face this without her,” said Ms. González.


Police continue to ask anyone with information to call CrimeStopper at 419.255.1111.

On the Internet:  laprensa1.com/Stories/2019/082319/janetheng.htm






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Revised: 12/17/19 13:53:20 -0800.




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