Saturday , May 25 2024

EXCLUSIVE: Janessa Ramirez Remembered on What Would’ve Been Her 10th Birthday

Family and friends gathered to remember the life of Janessa Ramirez, who would’ve been 10 years old Monday.

Earlier this year, Janessa was an innocent victim killed in the crossfire of a rival gang shooting. It happened Jan. 18 while Janessa and her mother stood outside a Laundromat in west central Fresno.

Gathered at St. Peter’s cemetery, Janessa’s loved ones released balloons into the sky and sang happy birthday.

"Father, I just thank you, we miss her, we love her, and she’ll always be in our hearts, she will never leave us," said Frank Posas, Janessa’s grandfather, as he led the group in prayer. 

Dozens of family and friends gathered to remember not how Janessa was taken, but how she lived.   

Her mother, Stacey Gonzales, said she still feels her child’s presence all around her.

"To me, when I do come to the cemetery, a symbol of her to me is when it gets windy, she’s here. So when the pinwheel was going, she’s here. I know she’s here letting everyone know, ‘I’m ok,’" Gonzales said. 

With music, the group reflected and remembered Janessa as a happy child with strong faith.

Her grandmother, Victoria Posas, said she believes it’s part of God’s plan to reach others.

"It is a sad thing, but I’m thankful that people are still reaching out and realizing that she was very much a child of God," Posas said.

Through letters, Janessa’s classmates wished her a happy birthday and wished she was still with them. Her teacher, Lynda Labendeira, read some of them out loud.

"I really wish you were here. And did you get to meet God? Is it cool there and fun?" Labendeira said reading one of the students’ letters.

 Family and friends hold on to the memories they have of Janessa and mark this day to celebrate her young life.

"We still love and miss her a whole lot, a whole lot," Gonzales said.

Since the shooting, three suspects have been named in the murder: Brian Cooks, 22; Isaac Stafford, 19, and Donte Hawkins, 21.

Cooks remains in the Fresno County Jail booked on a murder charge.

Stafford was arrested but released two days later with no charges.

Hawkins turned himself in but was released with no charges.    

Fresno police continue to investigate the case.

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